Death in Zanzibar

Death in Zanzibar

3.84 (1,168 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 114 x 180 x 20mm | 181.44g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140064095
  • 9780140064094

Review Text

Fans of Kaye's bestselling historicals (The Far Pavilions, etc.) are in for a limp little surprise if they're expecting more in her lushly romantic/exotic line: originally published in Britain in 1959, this is a contemporary mystery-gothic in the creakiest damsel-in-distress mode - blandly readable but dated, corny, and outclassed by dozens of others in the genre. Dany Ashton is on her way to visit her glamorous mother and famous stepfather - writer Tyson Frost, descendant of Rory Frost (Trade Wind) - at the Frost estate in Zanzibar; she's bringing Tyson a sealed letter from his English solicitor. But before flying from London, Dany gets a lot of shocks: the solicitor has been murdered (moments after Dany left his office); someone has stolen Dany's passport. . . and planted a gun (the murder weapon?) in her luggage! So Dany must travel to Zanzibar in fear and under false pretenses - posing as the secretary to young US publisher Lash Holden, a ludicrous American stereotype who's also on his way to visit Tyson (on bus-Mess). During the trip, someone tries to kill Dany; an Arab from Zanzibar is poisoned. Upon arrival in Zanzibar, Dany finds that the envelope for Tyson (containing clues to buried treasure, of course) has been stolen. Another murder ensues. And poor Dany, a stammering wimp worthy of a Barbara Cartland romance ("He didn't come for t-that. He was looking for m-me. He was going to m-murder me"), begins suspecting everyone in the house-party - even Lash Holden, who is fast becoming her True Love. Could it be that darling Lash is a bad guy? Or could he be. . . "a G-man?" Never fear: one of the other suspects is really a cop - and the evil Communist villain (no surprise) is unmasked in a cliffside showdown with the brainless heroine. A soggy throwback, with old-fashioned racism and only a dollop or two of Zanzibar atmosphere - but don't underestimate the selling power of the Kaye byline and a big ad campaign. (Kirkus Reviews)show more
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