Narrator: Robin Miles
Published by Audible Studios on March 9, 2013 (first published 1958)
Genres: Mystery, Vintage Mystery
Length: 9 hrs 2 mins
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Written by one of the most gifted storytellers of our time, Death in Kenya is a wonderfully evocative mystery, reminiscent of the best classic novels of Agatha Christie.
When Victoria Caryll is offered a position at Flamingo, her aunt's family estate in Kenya's Rift Valley, she accepts-knowing full well that the move will give her a chance to see Eden DeBrett once again, the man she was previously engaged to. But she doesn't realize that coming to her aunt's home will introduce her to an unstable region still recovering from the bloody Mau Mau revolt, and to a household thrown into grief by a recent murder. Distinguished by its mystery, romance, and exotic setting, Death in Kenya is as graceful as it is chilling-it is the beloved novel of one of our finest and most accomplished writers.
The colonial Kenya setting here is difficult. Death in Kenya is set at the tail end of the Mau Mau Uprising and focuses entirely on the British, how they live, how they view the people and land of Africa, and their ambitions, which makes sense given the author’s background (see below). That portion of the story has not aged well.
Aside from that, the setting is lovely and exotic, beautiful and dangerous. Victoria Caryll receives a letter from her Aunt Em asking her to return to Flamingo, her aunt’s plantation in Kenya where she spent her childhood. Victoria, of course, leaves right away for Kenya but when she arrives, she learns that someone in the household has been murdered.
The mystery was well done with plenty of suspects among the local British farmers and managers. I know that we often say mysteries have twists we didn’t see coming, but this one did catch me off guard. I was surprised by who the first victim was. I was also surprised by who the killer turned out to be. The motive was actually rather sad.
Death in Kenya is definitely a book of its time, from the main characters’ attitudes to the view of politics, but looking past that, it’s a good mystery with a touch of romance. And I do love armchair traveling,
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: