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, April 27, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “NAIROBI HORCE RACING!” (part 1)

NOTE: The cover or The Leopard’s Prey is now an online puzzle. Go to http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/picture/index.html, scroll down, and click on “It’s A Mystery” (if you are reading this as an archived article and the puzzle title doesn’t show, then it has been archived. Go to the bottom of that page and click on puzzle 2221)

The Kenya colonists have tried raising a variety of animals from ostriches (for the feathers) to more edible livestock such as cattle and pigs. Each venture had its own difficulties. Automobiles altered ladies’ hats so that big feathery plumes were impractical. Various diseases made raising some cattle breeds difficult. But by far, the animal that the colonists treasured the most and fought their hardest to raise was the horse and horse sports: polo and racing, were eminently popular. So much so that by 1900, The East African Turf Club had been formed with Lord Delamere as the first president.


Private races took place often and at anyone’s farm as did hurriedly put together polo matches, but the main races that pulled people from all over the protectorate and into Nairobi, took place during a few selected “race weeks.” It is claimed that this was a single girl’s best opportunity to find a husband since so many single settlers would be in town.

NEXT WEEK: The July 1920 Races

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, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com and follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

Jade del Cameron, 1920, Nairobi, British East Africa, Protectorate, horses, Lord Delamere, East African Turf Club, polo, racing.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

1920 “SPRING FASHIONS IN THE NAIROBI NEWS!”

NOTE: The cover or The Leopard’s Prey is now an online puzzle. Go to http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/picture/index.html, scroll down, and click on “It’s A Mystery” (if you are reading this as an archived article and the puzzle title doesn’t show, then it has been archived. Go to the bottom of that page and click on puzzle 2221)My Morocco photo (Moroccan Fortress) is puzzle 2237.

1920 FASHION AD

St Jacobs Ltd. was purveyor to the Nairobi-ites in the early 1920’s, carrying the latest fashions as well as more practical materials. In May, 1920, they advertised the latest in Spring fashions for any of those women who dared to live in the colony despite Lady Northey’s comments (see last week’s blog post).



This season sported a range of fabrics including wool, crepe de chine, and silk. Elbow-lengthed sleeved jumpers in mauve, white, grey, and reseda (an olive green named after a Mediterranean plant) with contrasting stripes at the hem and the collar could be had for 50 rupees. A long-sleeved shirt blouse in pink, putty, sky, or biscuit was yours for a mere 27 rupees. And a long-sleeved “assam-shade” silk blouse could be had for a little over 19 rupees. Assam is a black tea so the color was one of dark tea.

Plenty of choices for the discerning Nairobi lady or settler’s wife who wanted to look her best and freshest at all the upcoming horse races. But Jade wonders just what is the difference between “putty” and “biscuit”?

Ad photo courtesy of The East African Standard May 07, 1920
NEXT WEEK: Nairobi Horse Races

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, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com and follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

Jade del Cameron, 1920, Nairobi, British East Africa, fashions, wool, silk, assam, reseda, St Jacobs Ltd., women

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Monday, April 13, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “WOMEN IN BRITISH EAST AFRICA!”

NOTE: The cover or The Leopard’s Prey is now an online puzzle. Go to http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/picture/index.html, scroll down, and click on “It’s A Mystery” (if you are reading this as an archived article and the puzzle title doesn’t show, then it has been archived. Go to the bottom of that page and click on puzzle 2221)


Lady Northey, the Governor’s wife, was a woman of high social standing in British East Africa. Her name graced a children’s home, and having her presence at any social function guaranteed its worthiness and success. But the Protectorate (soon to officially become the Kenya Colony) was not pleased with her interview to The Christian Science Monitor and the May 1, 1920 issue of The Leader of British East Africa made no apologies for the uproar.

Lady Northey had stated that “the Protectorate is no place for a woman unless accompanied by her husband.” When she was asked if a woman with some knowledge of agriculture could come out and start a farm, Lady Northey replied “quite impracticable. Africa for a young and pleasing woman could not be possible.” The editor of The Leader made a side comment that such a statement was hardly flattering to all the woman who had come to British East Africa without husbands and made a success for themselves.

Lady N. did admit that there was one type of woman who could find it pleasant here. She then described a woman of means and leisure who had her own car. She also painted a rather dismal picture of the Protectorate as a place without railroads (there was a large one running up from Mombassa past Nairobi) and where the natives were savage and undisciplined (many worked on farms and in people’s homes).

One can only wonder what Isak Dinsesen (Karen Blixen-Fineke) thought about this.

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, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com and follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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Monday, April 06, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: 1920 “TROUBLE IN THE KIKUYU VILLAGE!”

NOTE: The cover or The Leopard’s Prey is now an online puzzle. Go to http://www.allstarpuzzles.com/picture/index.html and click on “It’s A Mystery” (if you are reading this as an archived article and the puzzle title doesn’t show, then it has been archived. Go to the bottom of that page and click on puzzle 2221)

Nairobi justice extended beyond the confines of the city and the bounds of British society. The native tribes were no longer able to take matters into their own hands and settle all their disputes in their own villages. So when one Kikuyu killed another, the case went before the High Court and before the acting Chief Justice whose name possibly pre-destined him for the job: the Honorable Mr. Justice Maxwell. The East African Standard reported on the case in the March 27, 1920 issue.

Even in the tribal disputes, there was a prosecutor and a defense as well as witnesses. The story began with Acting Inspector Ridgeway receiving a report of the deceased, a Kikuyu man. The deceased has a “small wound behind the knee joint of the left leg.” The wound, a half inch deep and 2 and a half inches long, must have cut a femoral artery, for the man died of hemorrhage. The accused was another Kikuyu man.


The shauri (dispute) was over a spot of land. The deceased wanted the accused to move as he (the deceased) wanted to build a hut for his wife there. When the deceased asked the accused when he was moving away, the accused replied that he would go when he liked. The deceased then threw a type of knife known as “a slasher” at the accused. The accused deflected the blow with a stick which he held, then threw the “slasher” back at the deceased, striking him behind the knee. One might assume that the deceased had turned to run away when the fatal blow was struck.

The deceased’s wife was a witness on the stand. She did not make any attempt to bind her husband’s wound. Three other natives stated that the accused hadn’t intended to kill anyone and that he had provocation. “His Honour found the accused guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced him to six months rigorous imprisonment.” No action was taken against the wife for any act of negligence.

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, all available in trade paperback.. The fourth book The Leopard’s Prey, IS available in hardcover. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com and follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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