The Leopard's Prey
by Suzanne Arruda


New American Library, a division of the Penguin Group, 2009. ISBN 978-0-451-22586-3.
Reviewed by Rhonda Esakov
Posted on 02/02/2009

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Mystery

I've found a new heroine to cheer for: Jade Del Cameron in The Leopard's Prey by Suzanne Arruda. Jade was an ambulance driver in World War I and now (after the war) finds herself drawn to British East Africa. An independent, single woman, Jade struggles to make a living as a writer in post-war times. "Writing articles for the Traveler paid well enough, but traveling anywhere to write about a new location had grown more expensive, especially with the current petrol shortage." It may sound familiar—except this action is happening in the 1920's on another continent.

Jade takes on odd jobs to supplement her income. Her current job of wrangling and photographing exotic animals gets this gutsy action figure into some tight places. Jade even uses herself as leopard bait in a last-ditch effort to trap the animal and save it from being shot when it stalks its prey too near a village. She is dedicated to finding a place for herself while preserving a vanishing way of life. When a man is found dead on a friend's coffee plantation, Jade sets out to clear her friends' names and find the true killer.

The descriptions of the African continent, with its exotic natives and wildlife, make a great setting for adventure. Little touches, such as the style of clothes and the types of soap commonly in use, show that the author has done her research into the area and its history. Add a little romance, some entertaining characters, a dash of male posturing, and a lot of danger and you have the recipe for a wonderful series of mysteries in an historical setting.


The Leopard's Prey is the fourth in Suzanne Arruda's Jade del Cameron series. Formerly a zookeeper turned science teacher and writer; she is the author of several biographies for young adults. In addition to her books, she publishes science and nature articles for adults and children. She is an avid hiker and outdoorswoman and makes her home with her husband in Kansas. For more detail and background, Suzanne welcomes people to her web site.

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