The idol of Mombasa

Annamaria Alfieri

Book - 2016

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Mystery fiction
New York : Felony & Mayhem Press 2016.
First edition
Physical Description
pages cm
Main Author
Annamaria Alfieri (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The Edwardian English, distinctly out of place in East Africa in 1912, with cultural and ideological clashes bristling all around them (along with the Sultan of Zanzibar), are the subject of Alfieri's engrossing history-mystery series starring Vera and Justin Tolliver. This second in the series following Strange Gods (2014) finds the former Vera McIntosh, the daughter of Scottish missionaries, now married to Justin Tolliver, the son of an earl and an assistant superintendent in the British East Africa Police (a hard-hitting sidelight in the story is the way Tolliver is barely tolerated by the British snobs at the Nairobi Club for doing something as low as holding a job). The murder of a runaway slave puts the tensions in the port city of Mombasa into high relief; while the British have officially outlawed slavery, the practice is to look the other way. Alfieri makes the workings of the "banned" slave trade horrifically clear. She is also especially skilled at bringing readers into the scorching, spice-scented East African landscape. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Set in 1912, Alfieri's captivating, complex second mystery set in East Africa (after 2014's Strange Gods) highlights cultural and social issues. Because the Brits must placate the Arabs if they're to maintain control within their empire in Africa, Mombasa's justice system is biased not only in favor of whites but also the city's large Arab population. Justin Tolliver, an assistant district superintendent with the British East African Police, is forbidden from enforcing Britain's antislavery laws (with which the Arabs disagree), and is ordered to keep the peace and protect a visiting Egyptian dignitary rather than investigate the murder of an escaped black slave. Justin's wife, Vera, the outspoken, African-born daughter of a Scottish missionary, refuses to let such discrimination stand and launches her own investigation. The pace is deliberate, but patient readers are rewarded with nuanced subplots and straitlaced Justin's dawning realization that serving justice isn't necessarily synonymous with serving "King and Country." Agent: Adrienne Rosado, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When a runaway slave is murdered in the British Protectorate of East Africa, Officer Tolliver is called in to investigate, uncovering that a member of his wife Vera's family may be involved.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In this second mystery set in the BritishProtectorate of East Africa in the early 20th century, newlyweds Veraand Justin Tolliver (she a Scottish missionary's daughter, raised in Africa; hean English police officer) contend with the complicated investigation into themurder of a runaway slave.