Picks and Pans Review: Death in Zanzibar

updated 05/16/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by M.M. Kaye

The heroine is named Dany, and the heavy-drinking hero is called Lash. If that doesn't deter the sensible reader, then it's important to know that a version of this novel was first published in the 1950s—and that it reads like a relic from the '30s. Dany, a sheltered, naive (even stupid) girl, is a suspect in a murder case. Lash, an American publisher, takes Dany to the standard English-mystery house party, where one of the guests, of course, is the real murderer. After the culprit is identified, a British detective says, "If I'd had the sense to look where I was going, I'd have got that pro-Red so-and-so before he started any rough stuff." If Kaye's The Far Pavilions and Trade Wind hadn't been best-sellers, Zanzibar would never have been resurrected. It's a very weak sister to those meatier historical romances. (St. Martin's, $12.95)

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