A group of tourists on safari find themselves in danger not from wild beasts but from a murderer among them.
Stanley Hastings and his wife, Alice, are ready to set off on Alice’s dream trip, financed by years of saving and a small inheritance and planned by Alice down to the smallest detail. A bump up to business class makes some of their future accommodations seem pretty shabby, but the wisecracking Stanley, a private eye who works for an ambulance-chasing lawyer, is determined to do whatever it takes to keep Alice happy. The expedition, run by Clemson Safari, starts off in Zambia, where the couple meets their fellow travelers. The first stop is an upscale lodge, where they soon see wildlife and a dead spotter. At first he seems to have been killed by a falling sausage fruit, but Stanley notices that the wound was caused by something sharp, not blunt. Discovering a bloody stick, he reports it to Clemson, but it vanishes before they can retrieve it. When one of the group is found dead after asking questions, Stanley can see that she was poisoned. Even Clemson, whose business’ success rests on a razor’s edge, knows he has to get the police involved. Asking Stanley to investigate, Clemson quickly moves the group to Zimbabwe in hopes of finishing the safari before the police and the American embassy get involved. Self-deprecating Stanley, who’s taken all this time just to learn the names of his companions, has little hope of solving the crimes, but he has to try.
In his 19th appearance, Stanley (Stakeout, 2013, etc.) once more faces a case he’s convinced is too tough for him. Hall complements his struggles with amusing repartee and enough red herrings to keep it interesting.