Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, January 26, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 24, 1920: “A GANG OF CRIMINALS”

NOTE: The Leopard’s Prey is NOW available in hardcover.


If you didn’t own a motorcar, the rickshaw (previously billed as the “love chariot”) was the preferred mode of travel. But in January, 1920, rickshaws were difficult to come by after dark. The reason: a “gang of six” Kikuyu. These six natives had a pattern of watching for rickshaws toting passengers, then waylaying the “driver” as he returned having collected his fee. The rickshaw driver (many were pulled by hand, some by bicycle) was then beaten and robbed. Robbery and assault were not their only crimes. A victim had sustained heavy enough beatings near the racecourse to die from the injuries.

Happily, many of the gang were apprehended. One “boy with a slashed nose” escaped, but was later captured 100 miles from Nairobi with a “considerable sum of money and jewellery (1920 spelling).”

However, a native woman found near Sixth Avenue with her throat cut was not the work of this gang as had initially been supposed.

NEXT WEEK: CONSTABLE ACCUSED

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

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Monday, January 19, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 19, 1920: “A WONDERFUL SALE”

NOTE: The Leopard’s Prey is NOW available in hardcover.



In our modern day, we're used to big sales. We expect them to hit the stores on the day after Thanksgiving, and again just after Christmas. For some reason, President’s Day is a time for white sales. 1920 Nairobi had its sales, too. Whiteaway and Laidlaw & Co., Ltd., on 6th Avenue in Nairobi was an important store to the settler soldiers and farmers of the colony. They were purveyors of just about anything a household could need, from undergarments to outerwear, cooking utensils, toiletries, and farm implements. And on Monday January 19, 1920, they were having a big stocktaking sale.

The advertisement on the front page of The Leader of British East Africa displayed just a few of their wonderful items and prices. Maw’s Parex Talcum Powder in your choice of carnation, white rose, or violet was marked down from 1.76 rupees to 1.25. Double warp cotton sheets went from 21.50 rupees to 16. Ladies hosiery, Palm Olive Toilet Soap, Swan fountain pens, men’s felt hats, and men’s khaki putties were all marked down to clear out stock before new inventory arrived. Even ladies dresses in cotton, voile, muslin, silk, crepe and velvet were reduced over half price “to make room for new stock coming forward.” As the advertisement explained, “Our custom of importing only one dress of each model makes it impossible to detail these bargains.”

At least someone buying a sale dress knew that they weren’t going to see another customer wearing the same outfit later on.

And did any of my readers note that January 19 fell on a Monday this year as well? How timely.

NEXT WEEK: A GANG OF CRIMIMALS

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

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Monday, January 12, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 10, 1920: “LAWS, DOGS, AND BALLS”

NOTE: The Leopard’s Prey is NOW available in hardcover.

It’s easy to think of Nairobi as a dangerous town where one might get eaten by a lion just walking out the door, but by 1920, that was anything but likely. The wildlife had been pushed back, just as it has been done by any modern city. True, a stray leopard might frighten a dog in the suburbs, but stray coyotes do the same today in the United States. No, Nairobi was wild, but not with animal life. It’s wildness was due to odd people who came to the colony. And the city government did it’s best to tame them. Hence all the registration laws.



Vehicles needed to be registered. Firearms had to be registered. And dogs had to be registered as well. The city didn’t want stray dogs roaming the streets any more than it wanted those leopards or hyenas. Dogs five months and older had to be registered and collared. Any dog found in violation could be seized and kept for seven days.

Dogs were not the only animals that the colonists fancied. Horses were very popular and the Turf Club relished in the track, in race week, and in fancy dress (costume) balls.



At the January 9, 1920 Turf Club ball, Bandmaster Harvey and his men were in “top form- especially in jazz.” Cowboys and “ladies of the harem” danced the night away. One lady appeared in a silk dress “representative of the Leader.” Another lady came as a captain of His Majesty’s Forces. Twenty-five prizes were awarded for costumes.

NEXT WEEK: A WONDERFUL SALE

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 10, 1920: “LOVE CHARIOTS”

NOTE: The Leopard’s Prey is NOW available in hardcover.



Nairobi’s transportation has a new name. The “town of drains” lowly rickshaws were graced with the romantic title “Love Chariots” in the January 10, 1920 issue of The Leader of British East Africa. It seems that one of the London papers featured a romantic tale of man meets woman in Nairobi and The Leader pounced on the story like a lion on prey. Lines such as “he met her in Whiteaway Laidlaw’s, the first white woman he had spoken to for thirteen months… the boys that propelled her rickshaw wore bright blue cotton to match her eyes.”

The tale went on with their dining together at her home in the Muthaiga district under the bougainvilles. “Every night of his sick leave, he dined with her at the New Stanley Hotel. Then he would take her home in a rickshaw….which is love’s own chariot.”

The unnamed reporter in The Leader finished with the remark that “the Town of Drains” is no longer just a “mecca for the soldier settler” but has merit “in the amorous sentiment.”

NEXT WEEK: BALLS AND BOW WOWS IN NAIROBI

NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, will be available in hardcover January 6, 2009. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

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