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Death in the Andamans (Death In..., #6)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,059 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Death in the Andamans is a masterpiece of mystery and romance from one of our most beloved authors. When a violent storm lashes the tiny Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, Copper Randal barely manages a safe return to Government House. She does get back in one piece with her hostess, Valerie Masson, Val's fiance, and handsome naval officer Nick Tarrent, but one of the i ...more
Paperback, 302 pages
Published 1986 by Penguin Books
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. Murder mystery with a dash of romance, written in 1960 and set in the exotic Andaman Islands, a former British penal colony that is now part of India.


Caroline Randal, known as "Copper," is a young Englishwoman invited to visit her old school chum, Valerie, who now lives on Ross Island in the Andamans with her stepfather, the Chief Commissioner. During her visit, a tropical storm isolates their group on the island, and a man dies--washed overboard in the storm and drowned, everyone th
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2018-completed
”The Andaman Islands, green, fairy-like, enchanted, lie some hundred miles off the Burmese coast in the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal. Legend, with some support by science, tells that their hills and valleys were once part of a great range of mountains that extended from Burma to Sumatra, but that the wickedness of the inhabitants angered Mavia Tomala, the great chief, who caused a cataclysm which separated the land into over two hundred islands, and marooned them for ever in the Bay of Be ...more
Christine PNW
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-women
I think I liked Death in Kashmir better, but this one was a fun little mystery. I like the way that M.M. Kaye combines a bit of romance with her mysteries, and her colonial British settings, are a huge guilty pleasure of mine. Guilty because I know that colonialism was terribly destructive to local cultures and peoples and Empire building is incredibly arrogant and indefensible, but pleasure because I still love them, with their interesting rules, and their exotic settings.
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this book reads a lot like the other books in the "Death In..." series, complete with a limited number of English suspects in a non-English land, the plotting feels slightly more juvenile for an M.M. Kaye novel. Maye I was looking for it since she explains in the beginning that she composed the plot with her friend while whiling away a rainy day in the Andamans. But the two girls and their charming boyfriends playing detective left me thinking more of the Hardy Boys than Agatha Christie.
Another winner from M.M. Kaye's " Death in... " murder mystery series. This novel takes the reader to the Andaman Islands off the coast of India, circa late 1940's. Copper Randal leaves the dreary, rainy confines of her secretarial job in London and travels halfway around the world to visit a girlhood friend living with her father, the Chief Commissioner of the Andaman Islands. While there, Copper discovers that all is not as it seems in paradise. Death stalks the colonial residents during the ...more
The last of this series, and continues with the theme of sinking into a beautiful location, with some murder and romance along the way. This one had irritating men v women banter which fell flat for me ("you two harridans" etc, in a supposedly affectionate, joking way). Local people again non-entities.

"Coppy" has to be one of the most irritating nicknames I've ever heard.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the final book I needed to read to complete M.M. Kaye's murder mysteries. What I like most about M.M. Kaye's books is the atmosphere and the suspense. She's really great at creating a room, or a moment, or a set of circumstances that make your heart race and provide a bit of an adrenaline boost.
However, it might be a sign that you've put a bit too much atmosphere into your book when (view spoiler)
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books...ever. I love a good mystery with some romance thrown in, so this book is right up my alley. I have read all of M.M. Kaye's books except for Trade Winds (which is really hard to find in print) and The Far Pavilions (because it's huge). Her other mysteries (the "Death In..." series) are interesting, well-written, and occur in various exotic locations. I return to these once a year when I need a good book; for me, these are like an old pair of comfy slippers. I hi ...more
Ian Laird
Minor revisions 11 July 2020.
An ‘old dark house’ mystery of fair quality, interesting to me because of the setting and the time period.

Three MM Kaye stories in her ‘death’ series are contained in the omnibus House of Shade: Death in Zanzibar, Death in the Andamans and Death in Kashmir. The author explains that she roughed out the Andamans’ story in the late thirties then let it lie dormant for many years, picking it up later for eventual publication in 1960. Notwithstanding the time lag and the
Jannah Cloud Child
Reread. A lot of fun returning to this one and I still was unsure about the murderer until the reveal. Very well done with lots of tingly suspense, a will they won't they romance sprinkled atop with lots of fun humor.


Another cosy mystery on a deserted island with a killer on the loose. Enjoyable as usual, and the character perspective a little differently done than the usual "Death in.." style.
I'm glad also there was a proper "what happened" style explanation in the end rathe
Cynthia Hale
Sep 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic English Manor House murder mystery. i love those. It happens to be set in the Andaman Islands near India in the last day of Empire. I enjoyed the setting and the characters. It is the story of a young woman, Copper, who goes to have an extended visit with her friend Val. Val's father is Englands guy in charge for the area. While visiting Copper finds romance, adventure, and murder, all during the Christmas holiday. The ending felt a little bit "out there" but it was still good. ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This year I have read fewer recent releases than normal. I've found myself gravitating towards books written in the 1960s or earlier. There's something intensely comforting about nostalgia reads, where everything gets resolved and the book usually ends with a quick engagement.

M.M.Kaye wrote Death in the Andamans in 1960, the same year that Helen MacInnes wrote Decision at Delphi and the year after Mary Stewart wrote My Brother Michael. All of them feature a young woman catapulted into an exotic
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Death in the Andamans (1960) by M. M. Kaye finds Caroline "Copper" Randal on one of the enchanting Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean in time for the Christmas holidays. She recently has come into a legacy which allows her to take advantage of the standing invitation from her friend Valerie Masson. Valerie is the stepdaughter of the Islands' Chief Commissioner and wants Copper to share the beautiful island locale. At first, the only thing marring this island paradise is presence of Ruby Stock-- ...more
Lisa Whitehead
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MM Kaye is a great story teller.
Her narrative of the islands and their setting is beautifully done.
It certainly made me wish for cerulean seas and white sands.
The characters are witty and it is a mystery well played of who is involved in murder.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
SUCH a disappointment - weak plot, weak characters, and I continued to get the two main characters mixed up right until the end. The only redeeming feature was the secondary boyfriend, who affected the manner of a Bertie Wooster, and was therefore the only amusing or interesting character.
Regina Lemoine
I’m going to call this 2.5 stars. It isn’t bad, but the reveal was really unsatisfying and kind of stupid. I also felt like the plot focused too much on the insta-love of two of the characters. YAWN. It’s a shame because the setting is great and Kaye is obviously a competant writer. Also, the heroine’s nickname is just too twee and it got to be grating. This one just didn’t do it for me.
Lisa Greer
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
After reading all the great reviews, I feel like a heretic, but I couldn't get into this novel. I really like the first chapter a lot, but after that, the novel just felt so dated to me, and I know it is old-- written around WWII time in fact. I have other old novels, though, that suck me right in, so it's not that fact. I got a degree in 18th century British Literature, so I do like old books. :) I think it was just not "thrilling" or must read, so it started to stagnate for me pretty quickly. ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed all of Kaye's Death in... books. The most interesting thing about them is that they were written as contemporary novels and republished later with no editing. The forward of each tells the background of how she came to write them. This one was written in about 1939-1940 but not published until later. It does not have as much on politics as some of the others. The setting and mystery are creepy! Wonderful to read on a rainy winter day. ...more
A really enjoyable, quick read that only annoyed me by other characters calling the main character "Coppy" which immediately made me hear everything they said in a Cagney-esque voice. This doesn't, perhaps, make any sense, but I never claimed to. ...more
Spencer H
Rounded down from 3.5 this time. While there were many things to enjoy about this book there were a few things that really detracted from my enjoyment. These include: a) rather annoying and fairly spineless female characters who spend their time talking about why they AREN'T spineless like those OTHER women whom they judge constantly with great abandon for being THAT sort of a woman b) sexist men who seem DETERMINED in every remotely distressing situation to get the ladies away/force them into b ...more
Karen GoatKeeper
Caroline, nickname Copper, is visiting her friend Valerie on a tiny island in the Bay of Bengal in India. This is early in the 1900's, so India is still in the British empire. Val's father is the Commissioner so Copper is staying at Government House.
There is a small community of British citizens living on the island. All of them are at a picnic party which exposes some of the tensions and hatreds between some of these people. A hurricane moves in as the party breaks up. Some of the people came i
Rachel (window_and_mirror)
I love MM Kaye for so many reasons—but reading Death in the Andamans reminded me of a few of her flaws as a writer. She certainly sticks to the same cast of characters in most of her novels, and that gives each book the feeling of being the same as the last. She also has the unique voice of seeming to be a feminist, but only towards the young and beautiful. She makes a lot of catty commentary about middle aged women, especially those that have become disillusioned with life or their marriages. I ...more
Jan 16, 2020 added it
I found a copy of this book hiding at the bottom of a tall pile in a tiny used bookstore at the other side of the world. I already knew of M.M. Kaye and her connection to India but was taken by the setting of this book - Ross island in the Andaman Islands. I have visited Ross island once, walked through the ruins, and read the informational notices about the thriving British community that once called the island home. To suddenly come upon an author who had visited the island in that era, experi ...more
The suspense was a bit more mellow than the previous few Kaye novels I've read but still an excellent read. M.M. Kaye was certainly superbly talented when creating characters and the stories they live out on the pages we read. Her books are never packed with filler or graphic scenes. Every word serves a purpose and is well crafted. The dialogue is so well done you can vividly picture the characters and their conversations. The exotic locales add spice, intrigue and sometimes a bit of danger. The ...more
Evelyn Hill
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Location, location, location.

I have to confess: this is not my favorite book by M.M. Kaye. (The Far Pavilions was fantastic.)
This was the first book she wrote, and it shows. The characters were straight out of clicheville and the romance was pretty much by-the-book, as it were.
But the location! She did a fabulous job of making me feel as if I were there, and she picked a wonderful location. Not just the islands, but the house itself, with all its mysterious carvings and dark corners of spooky ro
Catherine Kestle
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage
It is a toss-up which is my favourite "Death in" book by M.M. Kaye, but I have to say that for sheer atmosphere it has to be this one. It's possible to feel the tension of the storm building, the unrelenting heat and how it effects the characters.
A perfect book to curl up with on a winter's afternoon.
Jane Powell
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is my favourite of the Murder in... books by M.M.Kaye. Great atmosphere in the Governer's house and gascinatonh location. Sad about the turtle pool though. I hope attitudes have changed to nature in the Andamans. Time for me to do some research.
Diana McMinn
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book ended up being much better than i expected. The atmosphere the author set was suspenseful and during the storm I found myself holding my breath. I don't want to give away anything but the murderer was not suspected until right before the BIG REVEAL. ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I lost interest in the mystery angle as details became tedious. The main characters seemed artificial and the romance was so predictable. The book's saving grace was the description of the islands and customs at that time. ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exotic twist on a "closed circle" mystery, with a limited number of suspects isolated on a tropical island by a terrible storm. The sense of place is so vivid, the suspense so chilling, the murders so inexplicable, and the characters so engaging, I loved reading this! ...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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