Shortly after, Jade is an ear-witness to a suspicious accident involving a car on a bridge. Constable Miller agrees with her conclusion that Stockton, the driver, was murdered. Meanwhile, Jade begins to have hallucinations that involve seeing David and getting ominous messages from him. Waters, the chief suspect in the bridge murder, falls victim to a ravenous crocodile.
At Jade's instigation, however, Miller determines that Waters was killed before the deadly predator dragged him into the water. Attempts to shoot the beast go awry. Comic relief comes in the person of Steven Holly, so besotted with Jade that he disguises himself as a female teacher in order to tag along on a school trip and woo her.
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He had left 4 months prior to go back to the States and try to sell his film footage of Africa and his idea for a movie. Jade apparently spent the time in France visiting old battlefields and friends from during the war. While there she had a momentary vision of her dead fiancee, David, who was a casualty of the war and had died in her arms.
The story picks up with her staying at Lord and Lady Dunbury's when she receives a letter with her deceased fiancee's clipped obituary notice and the words "Why did you let me die? That evening after she seeks some solitude she witnesses a car pushed off a bridge by another car and she finds the man inside the partially sunk vehicle dead. This sets up two separate plots moving simultaneously as Jade continues to get packages etc from the deceased David and there are strange "accidents" happening in the surrounding area that hint at a murderer loose who is leveraging a voracious crocodile to dispose of the bodies of investors in a gold mine.
Can it be David's mother who despises Jade and blames her for her son's death who is behind the letters? But what about those visions of David she seems to be having? Then there is the suspicious deaths. What a time for Sam to be in the States chasing his dream! From his hidden vantage point, the man watched the young American woman called Simba Jike. The name fit not only because she moved with the unconscious fluidity and grace of a lioness but because she held herself with a lion's assurance as well.
Only once had he ever seen her truly vulnerable, the day she stood in the deluge of rain at the train depot, watching the American leave her behind.
The Crocodile's Last Embrace by Suzanne Arruda
He'd watched, too, recognizing that his opportunity had come. A slight sound escaped his lips, half-sigh, half groan, born of desire and sorrow. He'd heard about her and her exploits before he'd ever met her. All the colony talked about her unconventional behavior and attire, and she might have been sunned by Nairobi society but for the approval she'd received from old Lord Colridge and Lord and Lady Dunbury.
Simba Jike in her dusty tan trousers, scuffed boots, khaki shirt, and that worn-out old slouch ranch hat seemed to embody Africa more than the British women in their Paris frocks and flowered straw hats. He'd also heard of her from his lover, who told a different tale. No grudging admiration there, and that was the source of his sorrow. He could almost feel the strength radiating out of this American, see the pent-up passion.
It smoldered inside here, flaring and flashing like green fire from eyes that could be as hard as emeralds or as soft as spring moss. Eyes that inspired desire When he first met this Jade del Cameron he'd expected most of the stories to be exaggerations, embellished tales told by needy people longing to draw everyone's attention. Instead, he found the tales fell short of the reality, and he'd come to admire her. That made his job all the more difficult.
The Crocodile’s Last Embrace
He'd been ordered to break her. I plunged into this book and found it a great read. The descriptions of Africa on the brink of becoming populated and no longer untouched are expertly portrayed. The plot is solid and, I thought, believable with some nice twists. The characters are perhaps the best part of the book. Jade is brought to life to the extent you expect to find the articles in some archive that she has written for her magazine.
Jade is flawed just enough that you become her cheering squad without even realizing it. The other characters are just as vivid to make the whole a finely woven tapestry.
- Jade Del Cameron Mystery: The Crocodile's Last Embrace 6 by Suzanne Arruda (2010, Paperback)!
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The indigenous people are realistically and carefully drawn which I found refreshing. You get a sense for the undercurrent of tension between the original inhabitants and the British colonial rule which does play its own role in this tale.
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The mystery is revealed over time as the story unfolds and just when you think there are no real surprises - BAM you get a twist that got you good. On a photography assignment in the northern territory of Mount Marsabit, Jade and her friends Beverly and Avery Dunbury hope to capture on film the area's colossal elephants.
Arruda Book Lists Suzanne M.