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 An American reporter attaches himself to the testy Kenyan policeman working to solve a gory murder discovered by the journalist. In Cameron's clever first novel, everything has to do with ivory and greed. Sam Hawthorne's trip through a game park on his way to cover a rising Kenyan insurgency ends abruptly when he stops to help stranded motorists and finds them all either dead or dying. The travelers were Game Department official David Kariuki, his wife, and his driver. Sam frantically transports the fading Mrs. Kariuki to the nearest camp, but he's too late. He's also charged with murder. It is Hawthorne's bad luck that the first representative of the government on the scene is one of the most cynical of a thoroughly corrupt lot; it is his good luck that the official wrap-up gets handed to senior detective James Wangai, who is not only competent but, mirabile dictu, incorruptible. Wangai, who likes Hawthorne not at all, can't ignore Hawthorne's carefully annotated account of the discovery of the corpses and finds it thoroughly improbable that Hawthorne would have gone out of his way to announce the discovery of the bodies if he were the villain he's made out to be. Wangai begins to call in debts all around the city of Mombasa and discovers rather quickly that the murders have something to do with the growing trade in ivory, which, although banned by the Western World, is still very much in demand in Asia. It is giving nothing away to say that the murderer is a rather nervous Chinese woman, and it is a pleasure to say that Hawthorne's estranged lady friend, a stunning Masai elephant scientist, helps solve everything without ever getting too preachy about her fascinating experiments. Nicely done eco-thriller in a fascinating African setting.

Pub Date: April 22nd, 1993
ISBN: 1-878685-37-6
Page count: 264pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993