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Death in Kenya

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,328 ratings  ·  110 reviews
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, th
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 1st 1987 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1958)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  1,328 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2018-completed
The highlight and focus point of this novel is Africa itself. More specifically, an area known as The Rift in Kenya. This book was written in 1958, which was at the tail end of the Mau Mau uprising (1952 – 1959), called the Emergency by the local white population.

Through dialogue, there were some interesting points brought up about ‘foreign’ interests in what are sometimes referred to as colonialized countries. It definitely gave me some food for thought, and I am still mulling over the various
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
One of M.M. Kaye's sextet of old-fashioned murder mysteries, this one set in (no surprise) Kenya in the 1950s. Victoria Caryll has been called to return from England to her Aunt Emily's beautiful estate in the jungle of the Rift Valley in Kenya.


Victoria is leery of returning because she was once engaged to Emily's grandson, Eden, who is her (I had to brain hard to figure this out) half-first cousin once removed, so, hey, maybe it's a good thing he broke up with her! But Victoria loves Kenya and
mark monday
a splendid murder mystery set in colonial Kenya, although perhaps one of the author's lesser works. as always, Kaye makes atmosphere a palpable part of the novel's appeal. she gives less care to several of her characters, but she does succeed in providing an excellent murderer, a sympathetic murder victim, and an appealing leading man. unfortunately the heroine is barely even there. Kaye's prose is elegant and her dialogue sharp and the mystery itself quite cunning. (although I did guess the mur ...more
When Alice DeBrett is cut down by a panga (machette), the British immigrant community in Kenya is in uproar. Who could it be? The Mau-Mau rebels had mostly been subdued, but there were still some of them lurking around the place. Of course, the complicated love triangles in the community could have caused it. And there could always be a hidden assassin among all the apparently benign people.

Aunt Em is a 'character', and is one of those women who are blunt and do exactly what they want, making th
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

5.stars Fabulous blend of mystery, suspense and romance

M M Kaye is famous for her wonderful novel about India, The Far Pavilions. Death in Kenya is a far cry from that block buster of a book, but in it's own way it is no less excellent. Death in Kenya is a wonderfully written mystery with just a touch of romance, but the best part is the setting, which is Colonial Kenya at the end of WWII. Back then, Kenya was still a place where many white settlers were born, raised families, and enjoyed life i
Christine PNW
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-women
In spite of the fact that my kindle unilaterally added this book to my currently reading on 12/17/16, I didn't really start it until yesterday. And then I finished it this morning.

I really enjoyed this one. It was thought-provoking, and the colonial Kenya setting was one of my favorites so far. I was baffled by the whodunit part of this mystery. The relationship between the male love interest and the female main character was less regressive than that in Death in Berlin, and more convincing than
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is my first M.M Kaye book...WHERE have you been all my life? Believe it or not I only heard of this author last week, don't know how I came across it but it sounded right up my alley so I went to the library to find some of her books. I chose a few of the 'death in...'series to start with (cos they're shorter)to see if I liked her writing style before I ventured into her larger books.

And basically, I love her!

The author has lived in all kinds of exotic locals and incorporates them into
I do believe this is the best mystery I have ever read. I did suspect the murderer at one point but quite quickly out ruled him/her. There was a light romantic thread woven through but it was not the main theme. I wasn't entirely sure who the Hero was at first but was happy with who it turned out to be.

It kept me turning pages rapidly so I could sooner find out who did it. Words can hardly express how much I enjoyed this. It was just the sort of book I needed. I didn't have a dull mo
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I wanted to love this, as it was my first M.M. Kaye book. So many people love her books! I really liked the mystery and it kept me guessing until the very end. I just felt it drug on and on too long. The ending was a bit disappointing - not so much the "who dunnit" but the WHY?

Ok, after a few days of thinking about this, I am bumping it up to 4 stars. I realized I was probably swayed to the negative because of the 2-day horrible headache I had while trying to read this. I loved the old fashion
Jannah Cloud Child

A more enjoyable read this time round. I had a bigger appreciation for the wild kenyan landscape and all the trappings that came with living in it. The cat and mouse plot was gripping and I got caught up in the suspense.

Overall a decent stoey, though I do feel like the characters could have been more fleshed out.
The book centers around the events that occur at Flamingo, an estate in Kenya's Rift Valley. Its owner is the elderly, eccentric Lady Emily, who rules over it and its occupants with an iron fist. Having protected the house and survived the bloody Mau Mau revolts through almost sheer force of will, she is not one to be pushed around or told what to do. However, when someone -- or something -- begins causing mischief at Flamingo, and as the mysterious events (an ink bottle knocked over, a set of p ...more
Karith Amel
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kenya-reading
I really loved this book (in a just for fun, frivolous kind of way).

Yes, it is deeply, painfully colonialist, and achingly short-sighted (and narrow-minded) in its perspective on the Mau Mau revolt. But, in its defense, it never claims to be anything but what it is: a story of British East Africa, by British East Africa. And, as Kaye writes in her introduction, the perspectives laid out in this book were the perspectives held, and voiced, by real people. I wonder if she might declare, with Dicke
I found this book in the M.M.Kaye series to finally deviate from her previous books. In the others I read each book had the exact same plot. A murder, an innocent young girl who unwittingly finds herself at the scene of a murder and the same implicated by circumstances beyond her control. The only that changed in each was the geographical place. What kept me reading was the fact that M.M.Kaye had lived in each of these countries and so I learned of history having to do with the years during and ...more
Sana Souames
I discovered this book and Author through Gooodreads recommandation, it came up as a suggestion of books I may like since I enjoyed " The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie, the suggestion included some of the Death series, but I decided to start with this one as I visited Nairobi and Nakuru area in 2011 and I still have all the memories in my mind.

I liked the story and the historical part of it, I almost guessed who was the murderer (view spoiler)
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-intrigue
I thought this was a great mystery--at times suspenseful and tense, and full of twists and turns. I loved the setting, and the cast of characters gave me plenty of suspects from which to choose (and no, I didn't figure it out). ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another old-fashioned murder mystery, by M.M. Kaye with a amazing sense of place. I half read just for the imagery of the locations these books are set in. Not my favorite one though. The murder here is quite creepily set, but this means half the characters are on the edge of hysterics and it made me feel somewhat impatient with most of them. On top of this, the feelings from primarily a white colonists point of view made me feel somewhat squirmy, as did the strange love triangle/s. A lot of one ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Years ago I read several of M. M. Kaye's books, most notably Far Pavilions. I enjoyed her writing but had never read any of her 'Death in..' series. I found Death in Kenya at a used book sale recently. It is a very well-written book, if somewhat dated (it was first published in 1958) and is worth the read. It is written in the tradition of the English mysteries of the time, similar to Agatha Christie where all is not revealed until the very end. I did not guess who the murderer was although ther ...more
Halley Sutton
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not quite as racist and misogynistic as I'd feared it might be. Also a better plotted mystery than I remembered from Kaye. ...more
Fun easy to read book centered around a murder mystery in Kenya. Beautiful imagery of the Kenyan countryside.
Debbie Robson
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I normally don't read murder mysteries but I discovered Death in Berlin about five years ago and was going to put it aside when I realised it was a murder mystery but then I discovered Kaye's very interesting "Author's Note" in the front of the book, giving background information to Berlin at the time of writing and how she came to conceive of the murder, standing by a pool that was covered over with ropes to stop it icing over. Blythely she mentions that her husband came up to her as she was st ...more
Aug 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all M.M. Kaye's fans
Recommended to Laura by: Hannah

Few people nowadays will remember the Mau Mau terrorist rising in Kenya, and millions more will never even have heard of it. But it was an unpleasant business while it lasted. I happened to be in Kenya towards the end of that period, because my husband's regiment had been sent there to deal with "The Emergency" - which was the white settlers' name for it. And despite some hair-rising moments, I can truthfully say that I enjoyed practically every minute of my stay in that marvellou
Another winner from M.M. Kaye's 6 book "Death in..." murder mystery series. This one is set in early 1950's Kenya, soon after the infamous Mau Mau rebellion. The setting is the beautiful and remote Rift Valley, where in the late 1800's and early 1900's British colonials set up vast farms and ranches throughout the valley (think "Out of Africa").

Once again, Kaye paints a vivid picture of the locale, while at the same time delivers a chilling and atmospheric whodunit.
End of Empire is a frequent theme in this series of books. Death in Kenya involves a passionate monologue about white ownership. But even while Kaye is attempting to navigate through the wrongs or rights of white landowners in Kenya, she manages to give us a story without any non-servant native Kenyans.

Still reasonably good mystery-thriller. This one is reminiscent of Ngaio Marsh's New Zealand stories.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m-kaye
M.M. Kaye's settings are always wonderful. She describes places that only a few people have had the privilege to see and in this series the setting is often treated like another character in the story. ...more
alisonwonderland (Alison)
I quite enjoyed this vintage mystery, which I would never have read if it weren't a book club pick. That's the joy of book clubs! ...more
Rachael Stoldt
This deserves a 5 star for The Who done it factor. I didn’t know who did it until it was revealed. But the less stars are because there were A LOT of things about this book I did not like in the least. Most of the characters were flawed in a way that didn’t come off as redemptive. I don’t mind flaws or even serious flaws, but most of them I would have literally hated to be around. Also, the whole overarching theme of colonization left a bad taste on my mouth. I don’t begin to say I understand th ...more
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a VERY heavy caveat that I have not studied the Mau Mau rebellion at all and I am sure that given the level of imperialism and colonialism present as doing a favor to the indigenous people of the Rift Valley the views on it presented in this book are equally skewed, but I do love this book nonetheless - partly because it's so clear MM Kaye loves Kenya so much. The descriptions are so rich without slowing the plot or mystery down at all and you feel immersed in the time period and setting in a re ...more
Mona Ammon
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
TITLE: Death in Kenya
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: It was recommended to me
REVIEW: A good solid classic mystery. This book was a slow to get started but picked up steam. The mystery is a solid one with characters you care about, even the killer. It is set in a definite time and place - Kenya after the Mau Mau Uprising. It was written not long after that. So you have to contend with the attitude of the white colonizers toward the African natives. While colonialism is wrong and the treatment of the colon
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took a chance on this book, knowing little about it but needing a book to read, and I so glad I did. It was wonderful.

Larger than life characters that I enjoyed reading about, the page-turning mystery of who was the murderer and when would they strike again, and lovely descriptions of the scenery of Kenya. Then, there was a bit of romance thrown in to keep us women happy.

I am looking forward to reading more M.M. Kaye.
Liz Clappin
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read M.M. Kaye in years, but no one beats her at capturing atmosphere and sense of time and place, probably because she actually lived everywhere she wrote about. Interesting glimpse at the fate of the Rift Valley in a particular time and place, after the collapse of the British empire, in the midst of native uprisings with a particularly chilling villain. ...more
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M. M. Kaye (Mary Margaret) was born in India and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there. Her family ties with the country are strong: her grandfather, father, brother and husband all served the British Raj. After India's independence, her husband, Major-General Goff Hamilton of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (the famous Indian Army regiment featured in The Far Pav ...more

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