MYSTERY

Love and Death Among the Cheetahs

Berkley Prime Crime. (Royal Spyness, Bk. 13). Aug. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9780451492845. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780451492869. M
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After a short honeymoon on a houseboat, Lady Georgiana’s new husband, Darcy O’Mara, surprises her with a trip to Kenya and finally admits he’s going on assignment to catch a jewel thief. Georgie suspects there’s more to it than that but doesn’t push the issue immediately. The newlyweds head for Happy Valley, where the upper-class English live close enough together to party with drinks, drugs, and wife-swapping. Georgie is angry when she’s propositioned. She stops Lord Cheriton’s loutish behavior yet is still shocked when she and Darcy sneak out of the party and find the man murdered along the road. Almost everyone had a reason to want him dead, but Georgie is the one who discovers the truth.
VERDICT As in the award-winning author’s 11th in the series, On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, Bowen takes a serious turn, focusing on the depraved lifestyle of the English in Kenya and foreshadowing World War II while including a safari and air travel. Fans who read the books for the light humor may be disappointed, but those who appreciate Bowen’s knowledge of the pre- and postwar years, as in In Farleigh Field, will be receptive to the atmospheric historical details. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]

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