Best known for his landmark police-procedural, Last Seen Wearing, and the Chief Fred Fellows series (small-town Connecticut cop), veteran Waugh here offers the most old-fashioned sort of whodunit: a folksy American variation on a familiar Agatha Christie format. James Addison, narrator-hero, is a youngish reporter assigned (implausibly) to go on a Kenyan safari and write the trip up as a newspaper feature. So Addison soon finds himself in transit with an odd group of strangers: a half-dozen bird watchers; Colonel Dagger, a shadowy, semi-famous detective, accompanied by gorgeous daughter Roxanne; and the top brass from the Cartwright Company--including nasty old founder Phineas, sleazy son Richard (with sexy, unsatisfied wife), three power-hungry lieutenants, and two aggressive young salesmen. The murder victim? Unpleasant old Phineas, of course, poisoned via cyanide-laced liqueur. And though local cop Capt. Lumumba blames a Kenyan waiter, Colonel Dagger--with Addison in tow--suspects otherwise; then Richard Cartwright and a company secretary also die under iffy circumstances (encounters with hippo and crocodile), eventually followed by the locked-room murder of Richard's ungrieving widow. Waugh often seems on the verge of intentional parody here, but the formulas--including Addison's frustrated courtship of Roxanne--are generally played out in bland, predictable fashion. Even the African backgrounds seem cardboardishly artificial. And the result--not to be confused with Elspeth Huxley's classic of the same name--is mildly diverting, just faintly amusing, and facelessly competent.