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The African Poison Murders (Mastercrime) [Paperback]

Elspeth Huxley


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's ok 3 Feb 2013
By Kathleen F. Lamantia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is proof that, if you have an established name, you can publish something which is not very good.
This isn't awful, it's not dreck, it's just not very good. No real depth of character, so, as you can't really care about the cardboard figures, there is no sense of tension, nor is there surrender to the world and people created. I was quite disappointed.
2.0 out of 5 stars Characters were lacking 19 Aug 2013
By fortuna1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read it and half-way through the book, my feeling was, am I done yet? The book plays into the stereo-type setting of colonial Africa (i.e., people sitting around drinking tea and booze, wild animals, African servants etc.). The characters were not fully developed, some were unbelievable like Mrs. Innocent, the white, female lawyer, in colonial British Africa - they didn't even have such lawyers in England during that time. The ending was weird. A poor job this one.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful example of period mystery writing 26 Jun 2013
By John A. Lefcourte - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Huxley was born and raised in Kenya and spent her life writing about it. She is most famous in the U.S. for the autobiography of her childhood, "The Flame Trees of Thika". She wrote a sequel to that autobiography and other factual books about Kenya, its history, its politics, its natives and its British and other European colonizers. She also wrote three mystery novels in the late 1930's set in East Africa featuring Superintendent Vachell, a police detective who does the investigations, of which this is the last in the series.

This book is typical of the English mystery novels that were popular at the time, many written by female authors such as Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham and Dorothy Sayers. Clever plots were the focus of the novels, in depth characterizations were not important. Huxley sets her mysteries in East Africa and does a brilliant job of describing the landscape and inhabitants, flora, fauna, indigenous people and European settlers, and I felt myself transported to the vivid settings. The plot is clever and logical and the usual red herrings are scattered throughout with most being believable, once the author reveals the culprit.

I've become a huge Elspeth Huxley fan, as I think that she writes beautifully, have read most of her books that are available and I heartily recommend this to lovers of a classic mystery. I also highly recommend her biography of Florence Nightingale.
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