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Mark of the Lion: A Jade Del Cameron Mystery Paperback – Bargain Price, December 5, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1919, Arruda's promising debut introduces a heroine who's no ordinary Gibson girl. An ambulance driver during WWI, Jade del Cameron promises a dying soldier that she'll track down his brother. The only problem is that the soldier's mother, whom Jade goes to visit in London, insists that she had only one son. Jade reasons that the missing brother must have been born to another woman, conceived when the now deceased family patriarch was exploring East Africa. So off she goes to Nairobi, where she mingles with the colonial elite, kills a hyena, learns Swahili, fingers a drug smuggler, romances a man twice her age, uncovers a murder and attracts the attentions of a local witch. The novel's conclusion is a tad predictable, and Arruda's Africa is not quite as captivating as Alexander McCall Smith's (an inevitable comparison). Still, most readers will close this charming book eagerly anticipating the next installment of Jade's adventures. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

With her caramel coloring and green eyes, American Jade del Cameron is nothing short of exotic. But don't mistake her for a hothouse flower; she's tough, brave, smart, and stubborn, as she proved during her service in France during the Great War. What's more, she's a crackerjack shot. Her temperament and talents get a workout when she agrees to investigate the death of the father of a young fighter pilot who died in the war, and to track down the young man's illegitimate half brother. It's a task that takes her to colonial East Africa, where she encounters racial and gender prejudice as well as kindness, courage, and greed. She also comes face-to-face with superstitions that blend seamlessly into reality. Arruda manufactures an intriguing backdrop for the debut of her new series, delivering both a heady sense of East Africa's cultural and geographical landscape during the early 1900s and an outspoken heroine, who proves herself gratifyingly ahead of her times in numerous ways. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Jade Del Cameron Mystery
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (December 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451219589
  • ASIN: B001G8WRJC
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,139,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Laurel Johnson on January 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Early praise for this mystery novel is well-deserved. Jade del Cameron is an appealing heroine and locales in France, England, and Africa are beautifully rendered.

Jade del Cameron epitomizes American toughness and determination in the early 20th century. Raised on a New Mexico ranch, Jade is doing her bit during World War One by

driving an ambulance at the Front. She's a top notch driver and mechanic, a gutsy girl who pilots a rickety Model T Ford through crossfire and shellbursts all day, every day. Transporting wounded and shell-shocked soldiers is a heartbreaking job. Despite her courage, War has taken a hard toll on Jade. When friend and would-be suitor David Worthy crashes his plane, Jade is the first person on scene. Before his death, David extracts a promise from her: Find his brother Abel and investigate his father's suspicious death in Africa. Jade is a girl who keeps her promises. At war's end she dedicates herself to honoring David's last request. In her new job as reporter for an American magazine, she begins the investigation in England then heads for Nairobi.

In Africa, Jade encounters an intriguing mix of characters: English Lords and Ladies living like royalty; native warriors and servants; working class coffee growers trying to survive Africa's climate; and shape shifting witch doctors out to end her investigation. Jade is enthralled by Africa's wildlife, people, and vistas, but doesn't lose sight of the purpose for her visit. The search for David's brother takes her from Nairobi to the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Handsome Harry Hascombe heads the safari to Kilimanjaro country. Jade is courageous and capable, a crack shot. And thanks to her Spanish-Irish-French ancestry, her looks attract Harry like a magnet.
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Format: Paperback
I admit, I went into this book with preconceptions, which probably increased my disappointment with it. Being such a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series as I am, a series concerning the exploits of an adventurous Victorian woman, I had been on the lookout for another similarly-themed book or series. When I saw Arruda's book, I was excited, thinking I'd found an Amelia Peabody stand-in for those long lags between Peters' book publications. After all, it's a story of a bold American woman, Jade de Cameron, a former ambulance driver on the French front lines during WWI, who undertakes the fulfillment of a dying man's last wish, a quest which takes her to the wilds of East Africa and into the heart of darkness (ooh, such a cliché, but I had to use it).

The concept is great and sounds wonderfully exciting, but the actual execution is disappointing. After the initial chapters set on the French battlefields, full of explosions and near-misses and heart-pounding action, the excitement quickly drops off and the story dissolves into a weak mystery (in which the perpetrator is quickly identified by any astute reader, leaving us to suffer through many more pointless chapters of characters running around like chickens with their heads cut off as they try to solve the murders, poorly-done "red herrings," and unnecessary breaks in the story to allow brief babbling excerpts from the villain's P.O.V., a feature which does nothing to enhance the narrative). As we wait for the mystery to be (finally) resolved, we're treated to what basically amounts to a travelogue of East Africa in the 1920's with a bland quasi-romance thrown in for good measure.
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Format: Paperback
I laughed when I read a few of the other reviews of this book. Obviously, some readers were expecting fine literature. This is not fine literature. It's kind of a "Nancy Drew for Adults" book. I enjoyed Nancy Drew when I was a girl and I'm enjoying Jade Del Cameron as an adult. When I'm traveling or really busy and just need a fun, light book to get lost in for 30 minutes at a time, this is perfect. This is the first in the series, but the fourth one I've read. It was good to finally find out just how Jade ended up in Nairobi and who some of the long-term bad guys are. The book starts with Jade just finishing her term as an ambulance driver in France in WWI. Her almost fiance is killed when his fighter plane crashes. She's there when he takes his last breath and asks her to find his mysterious step brother. And that's what leads her to Nairobi.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jade Del Cameron is a terrific new character. I've loved African stories since I was small, and rarely do I find one with such a charming lead female. Jade is able to take care of herself. She's the sort of character that makes you keep turning the pages long after bedtime.

I like the character of Africa, too. Suzanne Arruda brings the area to life. I loved the little chapter headings - the articles that Jade "wrote". They bring added life to the story.

I hope to see lots more of Jade, and of Africa in the future.
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Format: Hardcover
Mark of the Lion is a wonderful read. The setting is extremely important in the novel and becomes a character itself because Ms. Arruda has done her research. But luckily the other characters are so well-developed, likeable, and even quirky that they do not get lost in this wonderful setting. And the plot is not typical--Jade is searching for the missing brother of her former love in the middle of witchcraft, greed, wild animals, secrets, and best friends.

I highly recommend this historical mystery novel to anyone--mystery lovers or not. I think anyone who enjoys a good read with exceptional characters will love this book!
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