A Justin Toliver/Vera McIntosh Mystery by Annamaria Alfieri
Review: Annamaria Alfieri opens a new mystery series set in early 20th century British East Africa with Strange Gods, featuring Assistant Superintendent of Police Justin Toliver and Vera McIntosh, the daughter of the minister of the Scottish Mission in Nairobi.
Justin has left his home in England to find a more fulfilling life in Africa. He had heard of the wonderful hunting and the richness of the game and the ease of life in the new British East African Protectorate, which served the Empire. He had come to see what he could make of it all, and decided to stay. Vera was born in Africa of Scottish parents, but was sent back to Scotland in her teens to live with her Grandmother to learn to be an aristocratic lady. She, however, found her Grandmother to be cold and over-bearing and returned to Africa. Though they had met before, the two meet again when Vera's uncle, Dr. Josiah Pennyman, the only doctor in the area, is found murdered with a tribeman's spear in his back. The most obvious suspect is Cichinga Mbura, a Kikuyu medicine man, with whom he is known to have argued. Justin's superior, Commissioner Cranford, wants him to arrest Mbura for the crime, but Justin has his doubts. For starters, the spear that killed Pennyman belong to the Maasia tribe and Mbura would never have used it as a weapon. Defying Cranford's orders, Justin continues his investigation and soon learns that Pennyman had made quite a few enemies, including members of his own family, who might have wanted to see him dead.
Strange Gods is an absorbing historical novel, one set in an exotic location that provides a colorful and textured backdrop to the action. The beauty of the area and the inherent dangers of living there are brought to life in a realistic manner. The romantic relationship that is developing between Justin and Vera is touching, tender and poignant. The murder mystery storyline is an intriguing one, with credible suspects and no obvious culprit. A strong, solid start to this series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Strange Gods.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Strange Gods for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), June 2013
ISBN-13: 9781250004550; ISBN-10: 1250004551
Location(s) referenced in Strange Gods: British East Africa
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Strange Gods by Annamaria Alfieri — A Justin Toliver/Vera McIntosh Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: June 2014
List Price: $27.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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