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Later Than You Think 1958BOOK REVIEWS OF 'LATER THAN YOU THINK' (1958)

I thought you might be interested in reading some reviews of Later Than You Think (re-issued as Death in the Kenya) when the book was originally published in 1958. Here is a sample:

The Dominion, New Zealand, October 1958
This is a well thought out, cleverly executed and most satisfying suspense story in an unusual yet convincingly drawn Kenya setting.  Miss Kaye reveals great artistic skill to build up a gripping tale of strained relationships in a farming settlement out of Nairobi, Victoria lands from England into a situation charged with suspense and suspicion by murders that cannot be explained away as last fling atrocities by the crippled Mau-Mau.

The Outlooker, November 1958
Miss Kaye has chosen Kenya for the scene of her latest thriller and the period is that of the aftermath of the Mau Mau emergency. 

The central character is Lady Emily DeBrett (sic) an eccentric old woman settled for many years in the Colony, and it is on and around her farm Flamingo that the main action of the novel takes place.  The story is exciting, although inclined to be rather slow-moving, until the climax is reached.  There is a noticeable improvement in the author’s prose, and her dialogue has lost a smart brittleness that drove at least one reader of her former thrillers to distraction.  Probably her big success Shadow of the Moon about the India of a century ago, has given Miss Kaye the stability she needed.

Wales Argus, 10 November 1958 - by W J C
M M Kaye has  written another good detective story.  The title is 'Later Than You Think' and the background for this murder whodunit is Africa.
A Savage murder with a native knife is committed in Mau Mau country. In this area there live a number of colonial families welded together into a group mainly dominated by Lady Emily DeBrett, who plays a large part in the story.
The plot becomes increasingly complicated with the death of a drunken manager.
In all three murders taken place, to the accompaniment of police questioning, hysterics and a display of nerves in the circle concerned. The denouement is surprising and there is some love interest by the way.
The previous book of M M Kaye was rather a heavy one concerned with the Indian Mutiny.  In this present volume she includes excellent descriptions of the African background and very good characterisation.  The plot is quite a complicated one, but for all that, it is a murder yarn which is well wroth reading.

Corone, ,December 1958 by J T
This story is a ‘whodunit’ set in Kenya - and a good one, too.  The writer has had the subtle idea of keeping readers guessing as to whether murder has been done by a European or a Mau Mau.  Although there is the usual little knot of people forced close together by events, individually they differ refreshingly from the types we often meet in murder stories.  Their reactions are convincingly drawn and the essential suspense is well maintained.  At one stage, I feared M M Kaye was about to use her novel as a platform for views on Kenya politics, but fortunately, she quickly shied away from something so out of place in a book of this sort.  She does, however, manage very deftly to give an over-all impression of the size, colour and beauty of Kenya’s Settlerland.

The Sunday Tribune (Durban), 28 December 1958 by A.P.D
This Will Keep You Guessing
Later Than You Think, by M M Kaye (Longmans, Green & Co)
Here is a first-class keep-you-guessing detective mystery set in Kenya shortly after the Mau Mau emergency.
Miss Kaye, great niece of Sir John Kaye, the eminent Victorian biographer, has woven excellent characterisation into an intricate plot and obviously has put in much research to create an authentic background.
Suspense and intrigue start from the word go and are cleverly maintained by the changing role of each individual.  The story concerns the hunt for a panga killer in a closely-knit community of the Rift Valley.

Unknown Reviewer And Source
Well, I don't seem to have left myself much time and space to tell you about the next and last book which also has an authentic terrorist background; only this time it is the MAU MAU Emergency in Kenya.  It is called "Later than you think" by M M Kaye and is not so much a thriller as a highly exciting detective story with a topical touch.  Like Mr Appleby's EOKA Miss Kaye has not attempted an analyses of MAU MAU or the rights and wrongs of the problem but she has written an original whodunit story.  Curiously enough, one of her earlier detective books had a Cyprus background and was called 'Death Walked in Cyprus' a title which  seems even more apt-today than when it was written.
In 'Later than you think' it seemed very possible that the savage murder was committed at the outlying settler farm called Flamingo, the property of Lady Em DeBrett, was among the final atrocities of Mau Mau.  The weapon used was a native sword.
Investigations show that the motive could have been more domestic and that the murderer might be among the small European community themselves, divided by feuds, and not very secret passions.  The police therefore, begin their investigations among the white people familiar with Flamingo.
Throughout the whole story, strides the dominating figure of Lady Em with her weird dressing habits and her fanatic love for her farm and who it will go to when she dies.
When I started to read 'Later than you think' I had an irresistible desire after the first thirty pages to fling it straight out of the window.  I detest books in which every character who is to appear, come up at the beginning so that I constantly have to refer back to see who is related to who.  Conquering my desire, I pressed on and the book became more readable and interesting with every page I turned.  In the end, I became so intrigued with who the murderer was that I read straight through without a stop.  And a great surprise it was to me as I hope it will be to you if you come across this book.
Apart from the originality of the plot, the one thing which comes over in 'Later than you think' is Miss Kaye's obvious love for Kenya. 
Goodnight.

Unknown Reviewer - 15 Septamber 1958 - Negative Review
LATER THAN YOU  THINK by M M Kaye Longmans Green 12/6
'Later than you think' by M M Kaye deals with another British enclave in a foreign land, but this time we are in Kenya and the blood is up.  The very large cast of characters spend their days and nights staring speculatively at each other's wives and husbands, drinking a deplorable mixture of intoxicating liquors and hating or loving their adopted or appropriated country.  There is the commonplace assumption that no-one by the white settlers have any rights in the country, an assumption much like that of the colons in Algeria, and justified in much the same terms.  When one of the characters claims that after all the country belongs to the Africans another wearily explains: 'Which Africans?  All this that you can see here, the Rift and most of what is known as the White Highlands, belonged, if it belonged to anyone, to the Masai.  But it is the Kikuyu who claim the land, though they never owned a foot of it - and would  have been speared if they'd set a foot on it... Sixty years ago Americans were still fighting Red Indians and Mexicans and grabbing their land: but I've never heard anyone suggesting they should get the hell out  of it and give it back to the original owners.  Our grandfathers found a howling wilderness that nobody wanted...' And so on, the old arguments, so long outworn, for colonianism and imperialism.  It was used often enough about this country for us to suspect it regarding another.
Though this book is slowly and clumsily written the cumulative effect is not unimpressive.  The plot is credible, though one of its key points is dependent on a long-playing disc being broken, which is, as we used to say in Euclid, absurd.  It is as much a love-story as a detective novel and if you can overcome your revulsion to the character you may find it readable - just about.

PUBLISHER’S PROMOTION OF LATER THAN YOU THINK
Crime in Kenya - Later Than You Think by Mollie Hamilton (M M Kaye)
M M Kaye's new detective story is set in Kenya.  It seems likely that the savage murder committed on the outlying Flamingo farm, the property of Em Debrett, is among the final atrocities of the Mau-Mau.  In so remote a district, where disturbances have been common, violence is to be expected; and the weapon used is a native sword, a panga.
But investigation reveals that the motive may be more "domestic", and that the author of the crime might be found among the small community of white people, itself divided by feuds and passions - and the police begin to seek the murderer among the Europeans connected with Flamingo.
The author of Death Walked in Kashmir has written in this book another detective novel of impressive quality, and with an original and striking background.  She has brought to it the gifts of narrative and characterisation that were demonstrated in her novel, Shadow of the Moon, and has provided a crime novel full of conviction, tension and surprise.
Crown 8vo
12s. 6d. net
June