In his debut novel, Hour of the Red God
(published as The Honey Guide
in the UK), Richard Crompton brings to life an unexpected new hero, Detective Mollel a widowed ex-Maasai warrior who, unlike the majority of his co-workers in Nairobi's Central Criminal Investigation Department, actually seeks to bring his cases to justice. Three days before Christmas, and five days before Kenya's controversial presidential election in 2007 that resulted in bloodshed and intense inter-tribal violence, Mollel finds the body of a Maasai prostitute named Lucy in a storm drain close to Uhuru Park in the center of the city. The twenty-something young woman appears to have been butchered in a recent circumcision procedure known as e-muruata
, usually performed at the onset of puberty within the Maasai tribe. [A note to sensitive readers: while Crompton gives some...
Beyond the Book
One of the reasons Richard Crompton's Hour of the Red God
is so appealing is that he delivers different, fresh characters who have a strong sense of (and often struggle with) their cultural identity. The star of the book, Detective Mollel, was born into and raised within the Maasai tribe, one of Africa's semi-nomadic, cattle-herding groups.
The Maasai people speak Maa, with many also speaking one or both of Kenya's official languages, English and Swahili. They reside in the southern portion of Kenya and flow into Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley. It is estimated that over 800,000 people belong to the tribe, however, according to the Maasai Association, "
Maasai see the national census as government meddling and often miscount their numbers to census...