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White Mischief [Paperback]

James Fox
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 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...

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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: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,372 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
23 of 23 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
4.0 out of 5 stars A messed up assassination ! 12 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 -cuckood husband of his lover DIANA BROUGHTON -acquitted after a bungled up trial .This book presents JOSSLYN HAYS-LORD ERROLL -under a much to unflattering light -he was not such a bad man as described .Clever witty ,charming ,very well educated (ETON ), very good looking ,he certnly enjoyed the "favors " of most pretty Ladies of the time .But he was assasinated for other reasons than asserted ,probably by the British Secret Servces -MI 5,as uncovered in the far superior and documented book by ERROL TRZEBINSKI "THE LIFE AND DEATH OF LORD ERROLL " .
We shall probably never have acccess to the files of MI 5 to know the truth and this is a pity .
ENGLAND was hopelessly outgunned by GERMANY in 1940 and we know now that the partisans of a peace with HITLER were far more numerous than has been said ,the decision to continue the war was played on a dice ,and the far too bellicose CHURCHILL snatched the final decision .
This proves now to have been a monumental error ,because who dominates today EUROPE :mighty GERMANY !!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable read 1 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting and well researched and well written so only 3 dtarsbut ultimately only ok reading. Not one of my better purchases
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars He missed a key clue 27 April 2013
Diana lived for many years, while married to Lord Delamere, in a lesbian relationship with Lady Pat Fairweather. This fact alters the way we should interpret the case. Diana was always a lesbian. I know because I lived in her house for two months in 1965. I have revealed the real answer in my book " No Make Up".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When one has seen the film of the book it's almost natural that one should want to read the original book, making it equally natural for one to want to see the film again and increase one's original enjoyment of it. I can thoroughly recommend both.
In his introduction James Fox remarks interestingly 'There are also some detours along the route which seemed too good to be left out.' Such detours produce some fascinating detail, making the book all the more readable.
The fact that seven of the protagonists were educated (in the general sense of the word) at Eton and two at Harrow should serve as a good recommendation for Winchester.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book But Not Quite The Last Word
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... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Dr Bookworm
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 1 month 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 1 month 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 3 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 4 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 4 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 7 months ago by Mrs J
3.0 out of 5 stars White Mischief
I found it quite interesting,perhaps a little difficult to follow as there are so many characters/people's lives involved;overall I found it a little boring !
Published 16 months ago by Bookworm
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