Detective fiction set in Colonial Africa 1930s-1950s?
February 4, 2013 10:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of detective stories, or stories set among the Colonial police force, in Africa during roughly the period 1918-1955. Short stories, novels, even films.

Bonus points if the setting is British East Africa (now Kenya).

I'm more interested in police procedurals than Hercule Poirot mysteries.

Let's stipulate that I'm aware of WHITE MISCHIEF, CASABLANCA and all their friends and relations.
posted by unSane to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Help me understand the contours of what you're doing a little better. Is Graham Greene's The Heart of the Matter one that fits, because it hits the proper touches: 1) colonial British officer, 2) set in Africa, 3) nominally the trappings of a police procedural (i.e. mysterious death, smuggled goods, etc). Or is it not exactly on target because, despite these trappings, it's less a detective story than it is one of those Graham Greene stories about redemption, religion and all that jazz?
posted by .kobayashi. at 11:03 AM on February 4, 2013

Not a detective story, but Coup de Torchon.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:12 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Malla Nunn is a brilliant young writer whose books fit your requirements. Here's one of her books.
posted by mareli at 11:15 AM on February 4, 2013

Breaker Morant is about a murder trial. (Albeit a court martial, not a civilian trial.)

It's based on real events.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:22 AM on February 4, 2013

Wow, you really don't know about Heat of the Sun yet? Because it is exactly point-for-point what you are looking for. It is also a damn fine mini-series.
posted by seasparrow at 11:46 AM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks, I just found Heat of the Sun on IMDB.
posted by unSane at 11:48 AM on February 4, 2013

Seconding Coup de Torchon. Brilliant film, brilliant source novel.

"L'Hôte" [The Guest/The Host] by Albert Camus in L'exil et le royaume (1957). The French is also a pun on "Le Haut" [The Summit].
posted by Catchfire at 1:23 PM on February 4, 2013

It may not be what you are looking for, but Something of Value by Robert Ruark was about the MauMau uprising in the 1950s. I believe it was a movie also.
posted by Cranberry at 2:10 PM on February 4, 2013

Elspeth Huxley (better known for The Flame Trees of Thika) wrote several mysteries with a Kenya setting in the 1930s.

M. M. Kaye also wrote at least one mystery, I think in the 1950s.

I seem to recall that Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn has at least one Kenya case.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:48 PM on February 4, 2013

It's not quite what you're looking for, but ... Kahawa.
posted by rr at 7:26 PM on February 4, 2013

M. M. Kaye wrote a series of 'Death in...' stories, one of which was Death in Kenya, set in/just after the Mau Mau period.
There's also one set in Zanzibar.
posted by darsh at 9:02 AM on May 28, 2013

Oh, see also - The Crocodile's Last Embrace, by Suzanne Arruda , set in the 1920s
posted by darsh at 9:04 AM on May 28, 2013

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