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, February 23, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS FEBRUARY 28, 1920: “ANOTHER RUIRU PROBLEM”

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


The Ruiru flumes, as noted in the last entry, was the source of the electrical power for Nairobi. It was also the source of a murder investigation in February, 1920. An Indian man who worked at the flumes was found dead, and the special correspondent of The Leader of British East Africa wrote of “Stygian darkness” and an “assassin” who was “lurking in the reeds.” The murder, it is presumed, shut down one of the sluice gates which brought the victim out to investigate.

The victim was then struck on the head with a “cruel looking bar of iron” which felled him. Presumably, he struggled to his feet when he was struck a second time, this one a fatal blow. The murderer next sought to disguise his crime by dragging the victim up the steps of the wooden platform to throw the body into the water, making it look like the man fell, hit his head, and drowned. The murderer failed to dispose of the iron bar.

Then there was also the matter of all that blood on the steps.

ALL IMAGES SHOWN HERE ARE CREDITED TO THE LEADER OF BRITISH EAST AFRICA

NEXT WEEK: An Arrest

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, February 16, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS FEBRUARY 1920: “WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN NAIROBI”

Nairobi, as capital of the colony, did its best to turn the swampy railroad camp of its early years into a civilized city of theaters, hotels, shops, and clubs. Electricity did a lot to advance that civilizing influence and Nairobi residents and businessmen came to expect that the electricity would always be there when needed. But in mid-February of 1920, the lights went out in Nairobi, not once, but many times.



Nairobi’s electrical power was hydro-electric originating at the Ruiru flumes, twenty miles from Nairobi. As long as the water flowed, the generators turned and produced electricity. And sometimes, something stopped up the water, as was illustrated in Jade del Cameron’s first adventure, Mark of the Lion, when a young hippo got stuck in the flume. But water flow wasn’t the problem in February 1920. Fire was. Well, and a lot of locust followed by hundreds of hungry storks.

According to Counselor Udal, the Manager of the Nairobi Electric Light and Power Company, the grass fires along the Ruiru area had essentially herded “locusts and beetles ad-lib” into the flume, trying to escape the blaze. And that, in turn, attracted cranes and storks. Udal explained to the reporter from The Leader that it takes approximately two years to “educate the birds” that the overhead electrical wires were dangerous. But the multitude of hungry birds that came to feast on the insects were unfamiliar with the problems of flying into and landing on all the wires. Consequently, the wires broke several times over the course of three days. And birds weren’t the only animals that caused such problems. The Nairobi museum housed a “petrified frog” who “had a liking for high tension apparatus.”

NEXT WEEK: More Nairobi news

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, February 09, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1920: “WOMEN’S NEWS”

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

Women’s wants, needs, and interests appear in several places in the Nairobi newspapers.



For example, in the Situations Wanted column, January 24, 1920, there is an advertisement for a lady in England who desires a position in Nairobi. The lady, a doctor’s widow, claims to be “exceptionally musical” and “able to entertain.” She “can undertake Secretarial work,” and is “cheerful and domesticated.” Presumably, that means she could oversee maids rather than actually cook and clean on her own. Any gentlemen in need of a “companion” or looking for a new wife perhaps?



On a more serious note, a woman who signed herself only as “ready to pay,” wrote to the editors of The Leader of British East Africa suggesting that women should also pay a poll tax as do the men. She argues that women are now on the same footing as men “as regards the vote” and so should be taxed for the good of the colony. Now there’s a patriotic lady. The editors replied that they saw no reason why women shouldn’t pay the tax as well since many married and single women were earning good salaries. The Englishwoman in the above want ad, might want to think twice before coming to the colony as a paid companion, chaperone, or housekeeper.

Lastly, in February14, 1920, a woman columnist, “Delaine,” describes the latest fashion in tea gowns: Zouave trousers under an ‘above the ankle’ length, georgette gown with a beaded hem. But while the writer finds the trousers under a gown very fashionable, she was appalled by some woman seen entering a hotel wearing shorts and long socks that exposed the knee. The garb, Delaine claimed, was hardly suitable for wearing at a “shamba” which is a farm.

NEXT WEEK: MORE NAIROBI NEWS

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, February 02, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 1920: “CONSTABLE ACCUSED”

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

January, 1920: When a phone call to the medical officer led to the discovery of a native lady (bibi) found with her throat cut, people initially attributed it to the native gang that had terrorized the rickshaw drivers. The woman had been missing for four days when she was found on Whitehouse road in the Sixth Avenue vicinity. The medical officer decided that a knife 3 to 4 inches long made the cut. After a bit of intriguing detective work, the husband was arrested in connection with the murder.

A piece of bloodstained cloth had been found about fifty yards away from the body and a bloodstained handkerchief was also discovered. On January 16, one hundred and twenty askaris (native police or native soldiers) searched the district and the husband’s house. Boxes inside the house were searched. Inside were clothes that had been carefully washed but not ironed or worn. A coat was found with a cut sleeve but no blood on it. The search continued for a knife or razor, a search which only turned up some Gillette Safety Razor blades, but no razor. The accused, a Sudanese askari corporal in the King’s African Rifles, said he lost his knife three weeks ago and the razor as well.

The accused man’s wife had apparently been “making a row” such that no person could sleep. The deceased’s mother said that the accused had “bought her daughter” three years ago. They had a three month old son and, while they’d been happy at first, had not lived happily for some time. Perhaps the husband just decided to silence her permanently?

NEXT WEEK: MORE NAIROBI NEWS

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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