Hannah's Reviews > Death in Zanzibar

Death in Zanzibar by M.M. Kaye
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's review
Jul 29, 2010

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bookshelves: 2011-reads, mysteries, re-read

The locale: the island of Zanzibar, and a return to Kivulimi: "The House of Shade", made memorable as the home of that 19th century slaver, Rory Frost, in Kaye's epic historical masterpiece: Trade Wind. Now 70 years after Rory's death, his writer grandson Tyson Frost now holds the lease to Kivulimi, and is preparing to soon publish "Roaring Rory's" infamous diaries. Dany Ashton's mother is married to Tyson, and Dany has been asked to pick up a parcel from Tyson's solicitor in England before she makes a visit to Zanzibar. Little does anyone realize that this simple request will plunge Dany into a whirlwind of murder, hidden identity, political intrigue and romance.

While it was great to get some additional snippets of information about my all time favorite fictional hero, Rory Frost, I have to admit that I found this whodunit the weakest of M.M. Kaye's 6 book "Death in..." murder mystery series. It was a bit too madcap and silly in places, and I disliked Dany's love interest intensely. That being said, Kaye still knows how to write an engrossing mystery better then most, and her weakest offering is still 100% better then most of the current stuff I read. Like Mary Stewart and Daphne du Maurier, Kaye's writing style features a real and palpable sense of "place", and the time periods in which she wrote these (1940's and 1950's) give the books an authenic period feeling. Kaye's remarkable and exotic life bring all her locations to vivid reality, as she actually lived or visited all the places in her books for long periods of time and took copius notes that she used years later in this novels.

It is wonderful to revisit Kaye's novels once again. The strength and charm of her novels can't be over-emphasized.

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