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.

My Photo
Name:
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

Saturday, January 08, 2011

1920’s East Africa– “AFRICAN UNREST”

I’M NOW ON FACEBOOK. Come to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Arruda-Mystery-Writer/165784103431688?ref=ts and look around. Hope you “like me.”

Note: this entry is posted earlier than the usual Monday due to celebrating my 30th anniversary.)

The name “Harry Thuku” has appeared in the Jade del Cameron mysteries as a man who inspired the Kikuyu, Jelani, to protest colonial treatment of the Kikuyu. In particular, Jelani protested the travel restrictions and imposed labor.

But who was Harry Thuku? The Leader of British East Africa (March 18, 1922) characterizes him as “a native agitator” who has held “frequent meetings in the reserves where he gathered together on several occasions thousands of Wakikuyu and discussed alleged grievances and political questions.” He also was alleged to have written and produced “a quantity of literature couched generally in biblical terms on native political affairs.” They were considered “not particularly violent or anti-European.” And he was arrested.

But why was he arrested if his meetings and literature were non-violent? That question wasn’t addressed by the newspaper, however, the results of the arrest were. And they were violent. “As an immediate result of the above arrest, a mass meeting of natives was held in Pangani village yesterday evening, which terminated in a large body of natives marching into town and heading for the police lines near the Norfolk Hotel where Thuku is incarcerated.” By the time they reached their destination, they were “1,000 strong”
and many were “armed with heavy sticks.” Rickshaw drivers “turned out” their European passengers and joined the massive gathering. All the makings of a decent riot were in play.

Every available officer and askari was called on to form a line complete with fixed bayonets. The crowd of Kikuyu “immediately seated themselves in the thoroughfare and demanded the release of Thuku.” The crowd was ordered to disperse but their reply was that they intended to stay all night if necessary. They were then warned by the police “that force would be resorted to if necessary.”

The crowd did disperse before anyone could be harmed but only after the Chief of Police “had agreed to see a representative deputation of Wakikuyu regarding any alleged grievances this morning.” Not all the Kikuyu left Nairobi. “Bands of natives patrolled the town until late into the night. There was an ugly feeling abroad and the police stood to arms.”

Readers of the Jade del Cameron series will recall Jelani’s arrest for agitation as well in both The Leopard’s Prey and The Crocodile’s Last Embrace.

Headline and quotes taken from The Leader of British East Africa, March 18, 1922.

By the way, The Crocodile’s Last Embrace received a starred review by Publishers’ Weekly who called it “rip-roaring.” Romantic Times gave it 4 Stars and called it “Enormously fun” and Library Journal’s starred review stated “Do not miss this one.”
And Mark of the Lion is now available in the U.K. via Piatkus Books. Stalking Ivory and The Serpent’s Daughter will soon follow.

Next week: More Nairobi news:

SPEAKING OF NEWS!
*****Piatkus UK is offering Mark of the Lion and Stalking Ivory in the UK. Brand new covers! The Serpent’s Daughter will follow in January.********* http://www.piatkus.co.uk/Genre/Crime-and-Thriller

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, and The Leopard’s Prey, Treasure of the Golden Cheetah and THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda and on facebook to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Suzanne-Arruda-Mystery-Writer/165784103431688?ref=ts

Africa, Jade del Cameron, Kenya, Nairobi, Harry Thuku, Wakikuyu, The Leopard's Prey, The Crocodile's Last Embrace, The Leader of British East Africa, protests

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 30, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: “PETROL SHORTAGE!”

NOTE: The Leopard’s Prey is NOW available in hardcover AND the cover 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)



In Jade’s latest mystery adventure, The Leopard’s Prey, Nairobi is having a petrol shortage. The East African Standard, another Nairobi newspaper, reported on this on March 27, 1920. The “Honorable Secretary of the East African Automobile Association” spoke on the problem. He said that the Provincial Commissioner of Nairobi predicted the shortage would become worse with “still more drastic” regulations next month.



In fact, “no one living within three miles of the centre of Nairobi will have any petrol issued to him at all.” Apparently such people were expected to take the rickshaws, walk, or bicycle to their businesses and clubs.

People living outside of the three mile zone would receive: “motor cars – one case. Motor cycles – one tin.”

Garages and industrial users of petrol would receive an allotment according to their “absolute urgency.”

NEXT WEEK: A Kikuyu Murder

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 23, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: “1920 LEOPARDS!”

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

In Jade’s latest mystery adventure, The Leopard’s Prey, Jade is helping to capture 2 leopards for a zoo in order to prevent them from being shot. In the story, the leopard in question had tried to catch a dog in one of Nairobi’s suburbs. The story line had a premise. In May 22, 1920, The Leader of British East Africa ran a short feature on a leopard near Mbagathi, about 20 km from Nairobi.

A “big dog” that lived near the local slaughter house was missing. When it’s “carcass” was found “slung high up in the forked branch of a tree,” it was assumed that a leopard had carried it off and stored it out of reach of hyenas “until such time as the leopard felt an empty void in his innards.” A trap was set by building a thorn fence around the tree with one small entrance inside. But entering through that entrance would trip a gun trap. The trap worked. When the leopard returned one night, it was shot and killed.

What amazed everyone was that the dog’s body was nearly as large as the leopard. How the cat managed to climb the tree with that large a carcass was astonishing.

NEXT WEEK: More Kenya Colony Fun Facts

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

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: “1920 FORENSICS AND THE RUIRU MURDERS”

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

This blog is appearing on Sunday March 15 as I’ll be on the road on Monday. BOOK TOUR

The conclusion of the Ruiru flume murder was hardly satisfactory: no one convicted, charges dropped due to a questionable witness. What happened to examining the murder weapon for prints?

Fingerprinting was not only possible in 1920, it was being used in England. It should have been used in the colony. Check the iron pipe for prints, match them against the suspects, clear them or add to the evidence against them. Of course, prints on a murder weapon that happens to be lying around the flume is not enough to convict. The accused could always claim he’d moved that pipe out of the way two days ago or used it to lever a wheel open. But finding his prints would have added to the eyewitnesses claims.

The modern observer might wonder if fingerprinting was actually in use in the Kenya colony (still the British East Africa Protectorate at the time of this murder). The answer is yes! Every native (Kikuyu or Wakamba) was fingerprinted for identification and made to carry that document along with work papers in a metal cylinder the size of a shotgun shell which was worn around the neck. These kipande (work documents) had to be with them at all times or they would be fined or imprisoned.

So with all that fingerprinting capability, why was there no discussion of getting prints off of the murder weapon?

Another point of interest was the blood found on a door and a coat. The doctor said it was blood, but that he could not tell what animal it came from. Actually, by 1920, this was possible, providing you had a supply of rabbits which you injected with other bloods and collected the serum after (remember the old pregnancy test: “the rabbit died”). It seems that the colony didn’t have those capabilities yet.

Readers of the Jade del Cameron series will note that I updated the Nairobi police department by July 1920 in Jade’s adventure: The Leopard’s Prey. Not only does the inspector use fingerprints, his medical examiner has a goodly collection of those rabbit serums to test some blood samples.

NEXT WEEK: More Kenya Colony Fun Facts

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 09, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS: “THE 1920 RUIRU MURDERS - CONCLUSION"

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

The murder of Ruiru flume gateman Ahmed Bbai at the flumes took place in mid-February, 1920. For the next week, the Nairobi newspapers reported on the crime, the evidence, and the eventual arrests; first of Mr. Moorag and Mr. Kulu Khanzi. Stains like blood had been found on their pants, turbans, on a knife, and on the door of their room. Dr. A. C. Birch, Government Analyst reported on the blood stains coats and on the iron bar thought to be the murder weapon. He “had no doubt that the stains on both articles were blood stains which he could only say were ‘recent’.” He could not say what kind of blood caused the stain.

Shortly afterwards, another flume employee, Mr. Sabban Mooraj told the police that a Goan named Mr. Marishu Desa as the murderer. Mr. Desa had recently been promoted to flume switchboard operator. The March 20, 1920 issue of The Leader of British East Africa reported on the inquest in which a tale emerged of two men (accused and deceased) who did not like each other. Mooraj claimed he witnessed a fight between them on the night of the murder. He said that Desa had told him to shut the water to one of the gates (the crime scene) and that soon afterwards, the victim came up to see what was the matter. Mooraj said that Desa told him not to tell anyone or he (Mooraj) would be killed next. The case was remitted to the High Court. Then nothing more was said about the topic until May 22, 1920 when the papers covered the trial.

As Judge Sheridan presided, testimony was given by sub assistant surgeon Sukram Das who examined the deceased, by European Constable Ridgeway who had examined the crime scene, and by Mr. Holmes, resident engineer in charge of the electric plant at Ruiru. Constables spoke of finding a blood stained knife in a sugar canister only to learn that the stain was vegetable in nature and it didn’t matter much since the knife wasn’t the murder weapon to begin with. The bloody door to Mooraj’s apartment seemed to be splashed onto the door and was taken to police headquarters for examination. Mooraj claimed it was “placed there by foul play.”

Then, after devoting so much space to this final trial, The Leader ended this story with a very unsatisfying

followed by “In the afternoon the accused was acquitted on the finding of the magistrate and assessors that the evidence of Mooraj was not to be trusted. Owing to the exceptional pressure upon our space, we were unable to publish the remainder of the evidence.”

Nothing more ever appeared in the papers regarding this murder.

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

NEXT WEEK: A brief discussion of 1920 forensics

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 02, 2009

NAIROBI NEWS FEBRUARY 28, 1920: “THE RUIRU MURDERS PART 2”

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

The Ruiru flumes, as noted in the last entry, was the site of a murder in February, 1920. The victim, an Indian man who worked at the flumes, was found in the water as if he’d fallen, hit his head, and drowned. But blood on the steps and a murder weapon told a different tale. The victim weighed “12 stone” (168 pounds) so it was surmised that more than one man was involved in dragging him up the steps after killing him. In fact, very shortly after, two Indian men who shared a room at Ruiru were arrested and the police were heading for Nairobi in pursuit of a third man. These men had turned off the water to the first flume in order to bring their victim out to investigate.


According to the special correspondent for The Leader of British East Africa, the evidence against the men arrested at Ruiru took the form of blood-stained clothing and blood on their door. The deceased was of a different caste from the arrested men which “may be the explanation of the ferocity of the attack.” Gambling was suggested as the motive. An inquest was held at the scene of the crime. European constable R. Ridgway, of Ruiru, was the investigating officer and the medical officer came from Kiambu.

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

NEXT WEEK: The conclusion.

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, December 29, 2008

NAIROBI NEWS JANUARY 10, 1920: ANOTHER TRAGEDY

NOTE: The Leopard’s Prey will be available, January 6, 2009.



The headlines of the January 10, 1920 issue of The Leader of British East Africa once again proved that the colony seemed to call to people in difficult straits and that the climate put severe pressure on them. A Mr. Lawson Walton had been found dead “at the soldier settler’s camp.” Mr. Walton was not the only European man living at that camp. Another man, a Mr. Oxland, passed the tent on the afternoon of December 31, 1919 and saw three native askari outside the tent. Mr. Oxland had stopped to tell Mr. Walton that he’d come to walk with him. The askari informed Mr. Oxland, “Bwana na kufa,” (Bwana is dead). The askaris had come to the tent previously when they heard a rifle shot.

Mr. Walton had been in business in Uganda before later joining the Kings Rifles during the Great War. The deceased had been appointed as a political office with power to “arrest native traders” and to destroy their property lest it fall into enemy hands. Mr. Walton later suffered a sunstroke and was in a lunatic asylum for a while. He was told he shouldn’t return to the tropics, but he did. When natives talked about him and accused him of witchcraft to Arabs and Swahilis, it affected him intensely.

The medical evidence “shows that the deceased died from a wound through the roof of his mouth which entered his brain.” The magistrate ruled “suicide during a fit of temporary insanity, brought on by a former sunstroke and a return to the tropics.”

NEXT WEEK: LOVE CHARIOTS IN DOWNTOWN 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

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Seasonal Surprise

Note: Jade del Cameron's third adventure, THE SERPENT'S DAUGHTER, is available in paperback. The fourth adventure, THE LEOPARD'S PREY, will be out in hardcover on January 6. Go to www.suzannearruda.com for more information.

Instead of taking you back to 1919-1920 Nairobi today, I'm offering you two mystery carols, penned by myself (Suzanne Arruda) for our Border Crimes chapter of Sisters In Crime (SInC), a mystery writer and reader organization. We had a Christmas party for our December meeting and participants were challenged to write a mystery-related song to the tune of any Christmas carol of their choice. Below are my two offerings. Readers are welcome to sing them at their own parties, but please do give authorship credit if you print them out.

FORENSICS WONDERLAND
By Suzanne Arruda

Slay bells ring
A body’s listing
On the snow
Blood is glist-ning
A macabre sight
We’re detecting tonight
Off in a forensics wonderland

Gone away, is the villain
And the corpse is a chillin
We’ll check DNA
The professional way
Off in a forensics wonderland.

Even though the cops are getting tired
And the suspect ain’t a comin clean
We’ve got a body that’s expired
So we dust for prints at the crime scene

At the trial, our testimony
Makes his a---libi look phony
We hope the DA
Will put him away
Because of our forensics wonderland.


UP ON THE HOUSETOP
By Suzanne Arruda

Up on the housetop, burglars crawl
Hoping to make a great big haul
Down through the chimney, lickety split
One is too plump and he’s gonna stick.

Uh uh OH! Wouldn’t you know
Uh uh OH! Wouldn’t you know-oh
Hoping to make a haul today
One of them will not get away.

First they were going to raid the rings
Then try for TVs and other things
Now they have got a partner stuck
Here come the cops, they’re out of luck

Uh uh OH! Wouldn’t you know
Uh uh OH! Wouldn’t you know-oh
Hoping to make a haul today
One of them will not get away.

Pull out the stuck one, haul him away
Gets a visit from the A – D – A
Offers him time off in a deal
If on his partners he will squeal

Uh uh OH! Wouldn’t you know
Uh uh OH! Wouldn’t you know-oh
Hoping to make a haul today
None of them going to get away.

Next week: Back to Nairobi for New Years

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 15, 2008

NAIROBI NEWS DECEMBER, 1919: CHRISTMAS IN NAIROBI

NOTE: The Serpent’s Daughter is NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

December in 1919 Nairobi had many things in common with modern times including newspaper ads encouraging shoppers to buy Christmas presents. The BEA (British East Africa) Music Store offered a wide list of popular sheet music, shown below.



If you didn’t have a piano, The BEA Music Store would be happy to sell you one, or violin, mandolin, banjo, mouth organ, whistle pipe, ocarina, or even a tambourine.
If you didn’t fancy making your own music, the store also offered Columbia brand gramophones ranging from 150 to 275 Rupees. They also stocked needles and all the latest “up-to-date albums.”

NEXT WEEK: A SURPRISE
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 2009. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, December 08, 2008

NAIROBI NEWS DECEMBER, 1919: LOCAL AND WORLD NEWS

NOTE: The Serpent’s Daughter is NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

December 6, 1919 issue of The Leader of British East Africa held news of importance in both the local and the world arena and often on the same page. Mr. Eric Hale of a Zoological Trading Company had a want ad asking for “Live Game Reptiles.” Curiously, he also wants to know the reptile’s age, sex, and the length of time in captivity. While the last question might be answered easily enough, one can only wonder at how easily a reptile gave up that more personal information.

On the world news, trouble brewed in Afghanistan, showing that not much has changed in eighty-nine years.



According to the brief article, “representatives of six tribes unreservedly accepted the British terms, but…the turbulent Maddakbel tribe held aloof. They are to be punished if they do not submit tomorrow.”

On the home front, it’s time to renew those motor vehicle licenses which expire on December 31, 1919.


Jade del Cameron and her friends can get an application from any police officer, but the license (spelled “licence” in the paper) can only be issued by a police Superintendent.

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, will be available in hardcover January 2009. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Monday, December 01, 2008

NAIROBI NEWS DECEMBER, 1919: FASHIONS AND FAUX PAS

NOTE: The Serpent’s Daughter is NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!

December marked the beginning of a large holiday season in 1919 Nairobi. Dances, balls, parties, plays and ultimately, race week were all gearing up. This meant that a lot of ladies were going to sport the latest in fashions. Apparently, according a news clipping in the December 6, 1919 edition of The Leader of British East Africa, some of these fashions were becoming a might daring.

The note appeared in a regular column titled “Pardonable Pars” written by someone who called himself “Pardonne Moi.” It began with a brief report on the “football dance” (soccer for the American readers) and how it provided a different sort of sport, “the customary pleasant little competition among our local ladies as to who could dress with the maximum of expense and the minimum of material.” The article went on to report that “a sweet young thing of uncertain number of summers, winters, and autumns . . . (was) indulging in an artistic effect to see how near the hem of her skirt could come to the V-shape in the neck of her blouse. She nearly succeeded in making the two ends meet.”


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, will be available in hardcover January 2009. For more information, visit the website: www.suzannearruda.com

Labels: , , , , , ,