Sunday, March 08, 2009

Review--The Serpent's Daughter

Title: The Serpent's Daughter
Author: Suzanne Arruda
ISBN: 9780451222947/ Obsidian, 2008
Genre: Historical Mystery, #3 in the Jade del Cameron series
Rating: B+

First Line: "One should never trust the shopkeepers," declared a young man seated across from Jade.

When I picked up the first book in this series, Mark of the Lion, I fell in love. Jade del Cameron, a young American who grew up on a New Mexico ranch, learned how to repair automobiles while driving an ambulance in France during World War I. Ranch life taught her about roughing it out in the wild, being an expert shot with a gun, refusing to put up with fools, and wanting some adventure and meaning in her life. It's now the early 1920s, and Jade is finding that adventure and meaning as a photojournalist in Africa.

With this third book in the series, I find my love affair continuing. Jade has agreed to meet her mother in Morocco in an attempt to patch up their stormy relationship. Her mother, Inez, grew up in Spain dancing with gypsies and riding horses better than anyone else. Now she's a tightly corseted society matron, more concerned with etiquette and the proper clothing to wear for each occasion. Nothing her fiercely independent daughter does is right. Their meeting in Morocco starts off on the wrong foot, but before there's time for any repair work to be done, Inez is kidnapped, and Jade has to find her. Jade's search takes her through Morocco, from Tangier to Marrakesh to a Berber village high in the Atlas Mountains, dodging drug smugglers, slave traders and an old adversary every step of the way.

Although Arruda does provide a great deal of period detail in her books (and I actually learn while I turn the pages), I have to admit that I read them for the sheer escapism. These books are my "Saturday Matinee" reads, reminding me of Tarzan, Indiana Jones, Frank Buck, Karen Blixen, Denis Finch-Hatton, and Beryl Markham. Fans of the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters would probably enjoy them, too. I like to read serious literature-- history, biography, current events, etc.-- but sometimes I just want to have fun when I read. When those times occur, there are few books better than a Jade del Cameron mystery by Suzanne Arruda.


  1. These sound like terrific books! I love the cover of that one too.

  2. I really can't keep up. Grrrrr. You must stop making me aware of these great-sounding mystery series.

  3. Kathy--they're perfect books for the times when you just want a fast, fun read.

    Beth--I refuse to stop! LOL


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