Written by celebrated author M. M. Kaye, Death in the Andamans is a wonderfully evocative mystery...
When a violent storm lashes the tiny Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, Copper Randal barely manages a safe return to Government House. She does get back in one piece with her hostess, Valerie Masson, Val's fiance, and handsome naval officer Nick Tarrent, but one of the islanders is unaccounted for when the boats return to harbor. Cut off from the mainland and confined to the shadowy, haunted guest quarters, Copper and the other visitors conclude that one of their number is a murderer. The killer must be found before the storm destroys all trace of any possible clues. In Death in the Andamans M.M. Kaye has created the perfect blend of exotic setting and expertly crafted whodunit that mark her as one of our greatest literary talents.
Originally published in England, this tale of romance and murder on a few tiny islands in the Indian Ocean was written in the '30s and is based on an actual experience of the then-young author. Copper Randal is visiting Valerie, a school friend who is the daughter of the commissioner of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. The British community there is small and eccentric, its predictable social rounds occasionally enlivened by visiting naval officers. A Christmas Eve picnic is interrupted by a raging tropical storm, during which an indigent British plantation owner is killed. A visiting Navy doctor voices suspicion of murder and is the next victim. With communications to the mainland cut, the storm still in force, terror takes over the island as the search for motive turns up a surprising number of suspects. One is handsome Nick Tarrent, friend of Valerie's fiance and object of Copper's troubling romantic fantasies. With its satisfying plot, deft characterization and emphasis on setting and atmosphere, this early effort from an established talent is both fresh and credible. 40,000 first printing.