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READ PDF È White Mischief: The Murder of Lord Erroll Á The riveting true story of decadence, deception, and murder among British aristocrats in colonial KenyaIn , with London burning in the Blitz, a group of hedonistic English nobles partied shamelessly in Kenya Far removed from falling bombs, the wealthy elites of Happy Valley indulged in morphine, alcohol, and unrestricted sex, often with their friends spouses But the party turned sinister in the early hours of a January morning for Josslyn Hay, Lord Erroll, who had been enjoying the favors of the beautiful young wife of a middle aged neighbor Hay was found dead, a bullet in his brain The murder shocked the close knit community of wealthy expatriates in Nairobi and shined a harsh light on their louche lifestyleThree decades later, author James Fox researched the slaying of Lord Erroll, an unsolved crime still sheathed in a thick cloud of rumor and innuendo What he discovered was both unsettling and luridly compelling White Mischief is a spellbinding true crime classic, a tale of privileged excess and the wages of sin, and an account of one writer s determined effort to crack a cold and craven killing I had always wanted to read this book When I saw it on my friend s coffee table, I had to have it Growing up around Karen, I read, saw and witnessed the very extravagant living of British settlers They continue to live in closely guarded circles attending clubs and parties serviced by well trained African workers When I first heard of this story, I thought of it fascinating it was quoted in an article covering the assassination of Tonio Trzebinski in almost a similar manner to that the of I had always wanted to read this book When I saw it on my friend s coffee table, I had to have it Growing up around Karen, I read, saw and witnessed the very extravagant living of British settlers They continue to live in closely guarded circles attending clubs and parties serviced by well trained African workers When I first heard of this story, I thought of it fascinating it was quoted in an article covering the assassination of Tonio Trzebinski in almost a similar manner to that the of Earl of Errol Unlike that of Tonio, the author has covered the incidents leading to the murder of the Earl quite well He is detailed, almost too detailed for non history lovers He gives wonderful insights of old white settlers society and sneak peaks of Happy Valley the hedonist society The only caveat to this read is, if you don t already know the small details about Kenya Like who Delamere was or where Kilifi Malindi Ngong Road Karen are it might not be as exciting as it was for me and those who do This then should be a read in summary of all other learnings about Kenya and the history made by the British in Kenya All English country house mysteries are really set in Kenya between WWI life revolves around the club servants are silent and self effacing and know better to have opinions about anything There s a sort of uncanny valley in reading about the murder of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll and High Constable of Scotland, where I kept getting yanked u All English country house mysteries are really set in Kenya between WWI WWII It is exactly that bonkers hot house atmosphere where no affectation is too extreme, no level of snobbery too great Everybody knows everybody else life revolves around the club servants are silent and self effacing and know better to have opinions about anything There s a sort of uncanny valley in reading about the murder of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll and High Constable of Scotland, where I kept getting yanked up short by, No, the author COULDN T have done a better job with this character, because he was a real person and his unsatisfactoriness is historical It all seems so artificial and implausible but the artifice is created, not by an author, but by the characters themselves It doesn t help that I kept thinking of Sheri S Tepper s brilliant Grass, either The book has one of my favorite structures an investigator many years later trying to hunt down the truth about a murder, teasing bits of it out of surviving witnesses, tracking down leads in documents, experiencing horripilating moments of serendipity Fox s narrative is even a matryoshka doll of investigations, because in 1982 he s re investigating the work he did with Cyril Connolly in investigating, in 1969, a murder that took place in 1941 I don t think he s quite good enough as a writer to pull the thing off as the tour de force it ought to be, so the characters stay rather jumbled and it s hard to pick out where the moments of epiphany should hit like blows Even the one at the end, when Fox discovers that the witness who knows who murdered Erroll was someone Connolly talked to in 1969 and just didn t push quite hard enough, he mutes a little, mumbles a little Form mirrors content Fox seems determined to maintain an atmosphere of well bred reticence even when he s dragging ugly festering truth out into the light of day and even when it s brutally apparent that there was nothing well bred about the behavior of the victim, the murderer, or any of the suspects.Fascinating, even if not 100% successful Having just finished The Bolter Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya, I was eager to stay in Happy Valley and readabout the disreputable lives of the denizens living there Rich, titled little silver spoon twits with money to burn and boy did they burn it , unlimited leisure time to spend on devising new and novel ways to commit adultery or other sexual escapades within their tight knit group and drink drug themselves into oblivion or suicide , and generally live the Having just finished The Bolter Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya, I was eager to stay in Happy Valley and readabout the disreputable lives of the denizens living there Rich, titled little silver spoon twits with money to burn and boy did they burn it , unlimited leisure time to spend on devising new and novel ways to commit adultery or other sexual escapades within their tight knit group and drink drug themselves into oblivion or suicide , and generally live the kind of wasted life that served no purpose except to give readers like myself unlimited reasons to be disgusted yet also strangely fascinated by their life and times in the roaring 20 s and depressed 30 s White Mischief didn t quite live up to the can t look away from that car wreck that was so evident within the pages of The Bolter, but it wasn t without it s moments What generally didn t engage me was the writing style, which was flat and didn t flow smoothly from start to finish A true, unsolved murder mystery featuring an earl, his mistress, her husband, a world war, and a tight knit little group of priviledged colonials should have made for riveting reading, but it was mostly sluggish going, and sometimes hard to follow.Giving it a 3 because I didn t stop reading it, but would love to find a better book on the subject Disclaimer ARC provided by the publisher Open Road Media via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review Thank you One of my all time favorite television shows is Heat of the Sun which was shown in the United States as part of Mystery now Masterpiece Mystery It starred Trevor Eve as a London policeman who was re assigned to Kenya in between wars He clashed not only with his superior but also with the upper crust Luckily for him, he had a good Sergeant who was a dead shot, and a pilot who was Disclaimer ARC provided by the publisher Open Road Media via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review Thank you One of my all time favorite television shows is Heat of the Sun which was shown in the United States as part of Mystery now Masterpiece Mystery It starred Trevor Eve as a London policeman who was re assigned to Kenya in between wars He clashed not only with his superior but also with the upper crust Luckily for him, he had a good Sergeant who was a dead shot, and a pilot who was also his romantic interest In short, the three stars were great It s why I requested this book when it popped on Netgalley The first episode of Heat of the Sun seems to draw on this murder White Mischief is a two part story The first concerns that of Jossyln Hay, Lord Erroll and his murder This part covers the trial of the man accused of the murder as well as Kenya at the time The second part is Fox chronicling his investigation into the case, an investigation done with Cyril Connolly, for newspaper magazine investigative journalism piece The first half of the book is the strongest Hay was a womanizer, and Kenya s Happy Valley set was decedent Think soap opera Think Downton Abbey withpanting, drugs, and liquor And lions This part is told as straight forward narrative Part of the charm is the drop in guest stars Karen Blixen appearsthan once, Beryl Markham and others make appearances Fox does his best to make Erroll if not likable at least acceptable as a human being The reporting tone allows for distant and the story is compelling, most because the people are truly characters There is the woman with the pet lion, the feather game, and the social clubs Did you know that mayor of Nairobi was a woman at this time Neither did I And wait until you hear about the woman who tried a murder suicide It isn t all gossip mongering It isn t gossip mongering at all What Fox is doing is setting the stage, allowing the reader to see the people, the characters, for who they really were, or at least seemed to be This is necessary because the second part of the book depends on these character studies and gossip stories The second part is weaker in part because of the discussion of the investigation doesn t necessary take place in a strict narrative order There is a bit of jumping around and at times there are digressions Some of these digressions are interesting, some not so much One of the most interesting is the appearance of Antonia Fraser and her comments about the case The writing style also changes slightly It is less engrossing,laid back There also is a bit too much hero worship of Connolly, though considering Connolly s reputation perhaps this is understandable What Fox does very well in this section almost better than proving his thesis of whom the murder was is make Connolly sound like a man I wish I could meet Fox s proving of his thesis is well done and logical Recommended for those interest in murder mysteries, true crime, literature, and In the Heat of the Sun.Crossposted at Booklikes