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White Mischief [Paperback]

James Fox
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

5 Feb 1998

Just before 3am on January 24th, 1941, when Britain was preoccupied with surviving the Blitz, the body of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll, was discovered lying on the floor of his Buick, at a road intersection some miles outside Nairobi, with a bullet in his head.

A leading figure in Kenya's colonial community, the Earl had recently been appointed Military Secretary, but he was primarily a seducer of other men's wives. Sir Henry Delves Broughton, whose wife was Erroll's current conquest, had an obvious motive for the murder, but no one was ever convicted and the question of who killed him became a classic mystery, a scandal and cause celebre.

Among those who became fascinated with the Erroll case was Cyril Connolly who joined up with James Fox for a major investigation of the case in 1969 for the Sunday Times magazine. After his death James Fox inherited the obsession and a commitment to continue in pursuit of the story both in England and Kenya in the late 1970s. One day, on a veranda overlooking the Indian Ocean, Fox came across a piece of evidence that seemed to bring all the fragments and pieces together and convinced him that he saw a complete picture...

Frequently Bought Together

White Mischief + The Bolter: Idina Sackville - The woman who scandalised 1920s Society and became White Mischief's infamous seductress + The Temptress: The Scandalous Life of Alice, Countess De Janze
Price For All Three: 19.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 Feb 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009976671X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099766711
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A story which is as compelling and violent as a thriller, but which also happens to be one of the most dazzling feats of reportage in recent years" (Time Out)

"It is a measure of James Fox's remarkable achievement that in White Mischief he not only produces an impeccably researched and lucidly written "last word" on this notorious case but also brings these astonishing people and their perplexed lives so vividly and compellingly to life" (William Boyd)

"A fascinating piece of investigative reporting that possesses all the resonance of a social history and the drama of a good mystery...[and] a narrative strategy that allows the reader the excitement of watching a tenacious reporter piece together the truth" (New York Times)

"Leave P.D. James on the shelf, tuck Dick Francis away in the saddlebag, James Fox's investigation has everything you look for in a thriller" (The Economist)

Book Description

'Marvellously entertaining' Daily Telegraph

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and shocking 10 Sep 2003
This book is an absolute eye-opener for those who are keen on learning more about colonial Africa. To read how the upper class settlers behaved and lived some 60 years ago is definitely stunning in it's vulgarity. This you do not usually read about! But wait, there's even more: it's also a first class detective story. Not the usual John Grisham kind, but factional. Deep investigative work. Autobiographical. I'll gladly admit I read it all in one weekend and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Buy it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Fox's account of the decadent life and premature death of Josslyn Hay, Lord Erroll, makes fascinating reading, particularly if one has an interest in colonial Africa. While not necessarily the most flowing account of a complicated situation, it shed useful light on the mystery of Lord Erroll's death. Anyone who is interested in the case should also read "The Life and Death of Lord Erroll" by Errol Trzebinski, which puts a completely new spin on the mystery and contradicts the conclusions reached by Fox.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing true-life murder mystery. 17 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I found this book of particular interest since I lived in Kenya briefly, and am familiar with many of the locations mentioned. Even for those who have never been to Africa, this book is a definite page turner, especially since it is fact, not fiction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eternal Mystery 20 Feb 2012
By RedGala
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This article was originally a newspaper article written by 2 journalists who were intrigued by the case of the murder of The Earl of Erroll in Kenya in the 40's it was never solved and highlighted the lifestyle of rich ex-pats living in Kenya while the rest of England struggled. The Earl of Erroll was a womanizer and had many affairs he was in the middle of an affair with the wife of Jock Broughton when he was murdered. Jock was accused but acquitted, the trial and evidence was a bit of a farce and no one was ever tried for his murder, although rumours of letters, found murder weapons, ex-girlfriends and assassination by British Agents all persist, but no hard evidence has ever been found. The book comes down on the side Jock Broughton being the murderer and he was supposed to have confessed to a couple of people. The difficulty was in 1969 when the article started many of the main characters had passed away and with them all the secrets. James Fox and Cyril Connelly left no stone unturned and tried to meet everyone connected with the case. He visited Kenya again in the late 70's early 80's and managed to get an interview with Diana Broughton ( Errolls mistress) she had rose through a series of marriages to become one of the most powerful and rich white women in Kenya at this time. She did not throw any light on the murder but was an interesting character. She died in 1987 and now all the people connected with this strange case have long passed away we will never know the truth and it will remain a mystery of our time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lost world 16 May 2014
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Compelling as any thriller, this painstakingly researched and detailed account of the life and death of Josslyn Hay, Lord Erroll, in Kenya’s Happy Valley, offers the reader a window into the often decadent world of the colonial settlers. It’s a story of adultery, adventure, scandal, intrigue and decadence – and ultimately tragedy.
When Hay was murdered in 1941, the crime remained unsolved. In 1969 Cyril Connolly and James Fox began researching the murder for a newspaper article. Fox continued with the investigation after Connolly’s death. With the publication of White Mischief, it seemed that at last all the questions had been answered, but in fact controversy and speculation remain. Clearly and succinctly told, the book is an absorbing read. The first part gives the background, and brings to life the larger-than-life characters who lived and worked and played in the Happy Valley, and the second chronicles Fox’s investigation. It’s a truly gripping tale, shedding light on the lives and attitudes of the settlers, and how they could pretty much rule their little corner of the world and act in ways that still have the power to shock.
This is a gripping book from beginning to end, and I very much recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book But Not Quite The Last Word 1 April 2014
While this is a very good read, after reading around the 'Happy Valley Set' (ie 'The Bolter' 'The Temptress') and watching the film, I really was convinced for a while that the jealousy/love/hate angle was the motive behind the killing of Lord Errol. But, after reading an excellent book published in 2000 and available on Amazon, I am now convinced that nobody in the Happy Valley Set was responsible. The book is quite simply called 'The Life and Death Of Lord Errol' by Errol Trzebinski and I recommend that anyone who wishes to get to the truth of the matter should read this without delay. It not only details all the 'goings on' in and around the set but Joss Errol's political beliefs and it was the latter, or rather what he was intending to do with them, that got him killed.
Without wishing to give too much away, I would draw the reader's attention to 'The Sallyport Papers' within this book which are far too detailed to be fakes and I believe this is the real way in which Joss was killed. PLEASE PLEASE buy this book if you wish to know about REAL intrigue at the heart of the establishment. As for White Mischief, Fox has done an admirable job with what he had available to him at the time and certainly paints an evocative picture of the settlers and the various personalities that Joss surrounded himself with at the time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I find this a difficult book to read. Maybe ...
I find this a difficult book to read. Maybe because of the subject matter. I will go back to it later in the year.
Published 3 days ago by Emily bronte
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thanks x
Published 1 month ago by amanda grierson
4.0 out of 5 stars Imperial Arrogance
This is a story have known for some time. I find that the same kind of arrogance is prevalent yoday. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. E. W. Palmer
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated of course.
more of a reference book than a good read. More interesting if you know about one of the families, or something about it.
Published 6 months ago by Piper
5.0 out of 5 stars how the rich enjoyed life
good insite into the going ons in happy valley
its a book that can be followed up with lots of others that give info and stories of the people of happy vally
Published 8 months ago by William G. Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars The Happy Valley crowd
The English abroad. Many from the aristocracy. They enjoyed themselves to the full in early days in Kenya and left many scandalous stories behind them.
Published 9 months ago by S. Kite
5.0 out of 5 stars History brought to life
Brilliantly written book that my mother can't put down. She has the video also but loves very engrossed in this very well written book.
Published 9 months ago by Barbara Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars A great pastiche
A very evocative movie, true-ish to the book. I remember watching this when it first came out and being blown away, and now, nearly 30 years later, although it does have... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mrs J
4.0 out of 5 stars A messed up assassination !
LORD ERROLL-a prominent figure of the KENYA high Society before World War 2 -was murdered in January 1941 in very strange circumstances and his would be murderer LORD BROUGHTON... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mbwa Kali Sana
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable read
Interesting and well researched and well written so only 3 dtarsbut ultimately only ok reading. Not one of my better purchases
Published 16 months ago by Mike Tarran
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