Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

What distinguishes Elspeth Huxley’s crime novels is their focus on Africa, specifically on the British colonial experience in Africa. All but one of the novels is set in colonial Africa, and the one that is not features a character from Africa who keeps remembering his past and whose actions are motivated by what happened to him there. According to Huxley, her decision to write from the British point of view about Africa harmed her popularity because the intellectual fashion was to criticize British colonialism and express sympathy with native Africans. Nevertheless, her mysteries were generally praised, though her most popular work was not a mystery but her memoir of her childhood in Africa, The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood (1959).