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The Honey Guide (Mollel 1) Paperback – 4 Jul 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780222726
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780222721
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A compulsive whodunnit set in Kenya, where tribal politicscan get you killed (Ian Rankin MAIL ON SUNDAY)

[Crompton] has done something near-miraculous and madethe figure of the incorruptible loner-detective fresh again (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Smashing . . . It will make you long for the next instalment (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Outstanding (GUARDIAN)

"GOING BACK is a captivating book that many will relate to... As first-time novels go, we commend English on her keen observation of Ireland through the decades and accentuating this to bring us a clever plot that dabbles between the eras. Now that it comes in paperback, we recommend this one to go along in the suitcase as it's a perfect poolside read." (IRISH COUNTRY LIVING)

Richard Crompton's accomplished debut novel...spins an enjoyable yarn headed up by a credible protagonist. A fine debut that holds the promise of other good adventures to come (Fachtna Kelly SUNDAY BUSINESS POST)

A disturbingly informative debut novel from this former BBC journalist who also won the Daily Telegraph 2010 short story award (TELEGRAPH & ARGUS (BRADFORD))

a highly compelling crime story... The characterisation is particularly strong and the plot manages to be believable while still offering a few subtle twists. Some of the writing is outstanding. Once scene, in which Mollel and his partner talk while going up in a lift, their conversation unfolding floor by floor, is as good as anything I have read in crime fiction... A fine and very welcome new additional to the ranks of international crime novels and I am very much looking forward to the next in the series. (Scott Pack

Crompton's thrilling African mystery is accomplished, atmospheric, and engrossing. (THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE)


"Former BBC journalist Crompton’s debut features a unique voice, an in-depth look at diverse Kenyan rites and political chicanery, and a hero who, one hopes, is just at the beginning of his fictional career." (Kirkus Reviews)

"A spectacular fiction debut . . . Instantly elevates the author, now a Nairobi resident, to the first rank of African crime writers." (Publishers Weekly)

"Crompton brings the streets of Nairobi to life, Mollel and Kiunga, his investigation partner, are strong characters and with the traditions and history of the country integral to the plot, this is an excellent crime series in the making." (Choice magazine)

"Good news for fans of exotic police procedurals, crime fiction's first Maasai detective makes his debut here in what promises to be a series to watch. It is 2007 and Mollel, an outsider in a mostly Kikuyu force, investigates the murder of a woman as riots sweep through Nairobi following claims of corruption and vote- rigging in the Kenyan elections." (The Times of South Africa)

"This is a smashing debut, as fleet-footed as the warrior himself. It will make you long for the next instalment." (The Financial Times)

"A good plot and an interesting cast of characters.' (The Times)

"The Honey Guide introduces Mollel, a former Maasia intriguing figure, famous as the man who pulled dozens of survivors from the wreckage of the US embassy after it was bombed in 1998...Mollel's vulnerabilities gradually unfold, revealing a damaged but determined character who promises to be a fine addition to the ranks of fictional detectives." (The Sunday Times)

"A fascinating debut novel set against the turbulent Kenyan 2007 election in which more than 1,500 were killed in riots, this is the first in a series that will bring Nairobi and its colourful citizens vividly to life." (The Irish Independent)

"A vivid and sensitive depiction of an alarmingly volatile situation, riven with tribal divisions, in a place where glittering tower blocks and shopping malls sit cheek-by-jowl with tin shacks. This, however is more than mere local colour, with traditions, beliefs and conflicts being properly defining factors in the characterisation of a strong cast." (The Guardian) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Police procedural/detective novels are ten-a-penny these days, many of them formulaic and rather predictable in terms of character and plot - putting aside the masters of the genre, that is. Fortunately, Richard Crompton's novel sidesteps falling into the usual traps by virtue of the fact it is set in Nairobi, Kenya.

Anybody who has lived in Nairobi for any length of time, as I have, knows that the police force has limited access to modern policing techniques such as advanced forensics, vast computerized databases, and highly trained specialists. Even the guns look so old and rickety you wonder if they would ever fire - which is desirable since they are often casually wafted barrel-first at your head by the officer sitting next to you on a bumpy bus. As a result, Mr. Crompton's book is a back-to-basics detective novel, in which the main protagonist Mollel - a Masai cop whose wife died in the US Embassy bombing - must track the murderer of a prostitute through old-fashioned legwork.

Complicating the investigation is the violence that erupted following disputed 2007 presidential elections, which sees Mollel following his lead through an increasingly chaotic landscape, and being sucked into corruption and political shenanigans in the process. Mollel himself is a fascinating character. While he has the obligatory demons, his are not the hackneyed issues of failed relationships and alcohol. I won't go into any of them to avoid spoilers.

The novel is meticulously plotted, offering up red herrings aplenty along the way and keeping the reader guessing as to the identity of the killer until late into the book - although perhaps the more astute reader of detective fiction will figure it out sooner.

The writing very much leans toward the literary.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you fancy trying out a new detective series then this is a good place to start. I was attracted to the novel by the setting (Nairobi) and the main character, Mollel (a former Maasai warrior). I've never been to Kenya but my daughter spent several months there working for a voluntary organisation and this has since sparked an interest in the country and continent. Richard Crompton evokes the sights, sounds and smells of Nairobi wonderfully. This in combination with very good prose, an intriguing plot and sound characterisation (particularly of Mollel) makes for an extremely fascinating and enjoyable read. In many respects this is in the genre of a criminal procedural. But be warned this is a different tone to the better known Ladies Detective series. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the beginning to, what I hope, will become a series, featuring detective Mollel, a former Maasai warrior. It is 2007 and the run up to elections in Nairobi, which will result in claims of vote rigging, protests and violence. Already, the city is simmering with political, and tribal, allegiances. When Mollel and Kiunga are sent to investigate the body of a young woman, found mutilated in a ditch, she is also a Maasai. Initial investigations suggest she is a streetwalker and only Mollel seems interested in finding out who murdered her - justice is hard to come by anywhere, especially in a city facing the uncertainty of volatile elections. Mollel traces the girl's friend and discovers her identity. Before long, he is involved in trying to solve a crime that nobody, including the police force, seems interested in. Along the way he finds links to George Nalo Ministries and the most powerful businessman in Nairobi.

This is a solid start to a series, with a great location and characters. Mollel has an interesting past, plus a good network of supporting characters. The plot has many twists and turns and the author brings the city of Nairobi to life brilliantly. If you like a good mystery, with an exotic location, then this could be for you.
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Format: Hardcover
Richard Crompton was working as a journalist in Nairobi at the time of this novel's setting and it shows. This gripping investigation is clearly grounded in a particular time and place with a myriad of specific details that bring the chaotic intensity of 2007 Nairobi roaring to life. The central murder mystery has all the necessary twists and hooks to make it a compelling story, levering open the tensions and alliances within Kenya at that time as Mollel hunts for Lucy's killer in the shadow of escalating ethnic violence.

Mollel himself is a distinctive and likeable lead, and convinces as a character whose own strengths, shortcomings and background shape his investigation. Particularly enjoyable is the humour brought out by his relationship with his partner Kiunga. The secondary characters, particularly Superglue Sammy, Faith and the Nalos, are well drawn, and the novel is vividly and sensitively written. A potentially great new series and thoroughly recommended.
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By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are now any number of crime and detective series, many of them set in far-flung locations, each of them laying claim to be the exotic equivalent of what Ian Rankin's Rebus novels are to Edinburgh. The best ones - such as the Saudi Arabian setting for Zoe Ferraris' DI Osama Ibrahim novels - make good use of their locations for more than just exoticism and local colour, but manage to create an association between the nature of the incidence of the crimes and the actual culture, traditions and history of the people and the region they are set in. The first of a series of crime novels featuring Maasai detective Mollel, Richard Crompton's The Honey Guide is very specific in its Nairobi setting and period, tying one particular crime very closely in with the ethnic tensions and political unrest that follows in the wake of Kenya's rigged 2007 elections.

Mollel's investigation of the killing and mutilation of a young Nairobi prostitute then doesn't exactly follow the normal crime procedural lines. That's not so much to do with failings in criminal science methods, forensics or lines of communication - although inevitably, things realistically take a little longer than they would in a European or American setting - as much as the difficulties Mollel faces when confronted with class and tribal divisions, particularly as there are suggestions that the mutilation of the woman could be associated with a nasty tribal ritual still carried out in some regions.
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