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Alexander Nderitu

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Member Since: Before 2003

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ISBN-10:  WhentheWhirlwindPasses


Copyright:  Nov 1, 2002

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Inspired by the controversial Gucci murder case of the late 90's, this no-holds-barred crime thriller chronicles the life of a beautiful woman whose red-hot romance with a fashion baron ends in a Grisham-esque courtroom drama.


Margaret Njeri's encounter with Michael Othaya, the young heir to a multi-billion-shilling fashion empire, marked the beginning of a cataclysmic cycle of events that would involve sex, manipulation, conspiracy...and first-degree murder.

To be sure, the Sultans of Fashion had had their fair share of scandals and intrigues in the past. Overly ambitious and genetically predisposed towards greed, the rich and famous Othayas were no strangers to controversy. But it wasn't until Michael and Maggie - a laundry woman's daughter - started romancing that the feuding family's civil war reached its climax...

Easily digested and written with a handle on humour, 'When the Whirlwind Passes' is doubtless one of the best crime novels to ever come out of Africa.

'Start popping the champagne bottles,as at an Othaya house party: a new literary star has been born!' - Stanley Kiprop, journalist

'Brilliantly written...The story is fast-paced and the characters are built well. This is a book that is guaranteed to keep you seated ...If you can access the book, please do. It will be worth the energy.' - Saturday magazine


A gulf of silence separated them while Michael thought up something to say. Making conversation wasn’t his strong suit and if it wasn’t for the champagne , he probably wouldn’t have approached the girl at all .

‘Nice party,’ he said, finally.

‘Oh, yes. Very nice,’ Maggie concurred. ‘And Bessy wasn’t stingy when she went shopping for the champagne.’

Bessy was their host and the owner of the luxury high-rise apartment in which they were partying.

‘I guess not,’Michael said, lifting up his glass to study the liquid. ‘Dom Perignon. The finest champagne anywhere.’

‘As well it should be,’ Maggie said, glad of the opportunity to show off her knowledge and sophistication. ‘It’s named after the man who invented champagne.’

Michael raised an eyebrow.

‘Is that so?’ he said.

‘Oh, yes. He was a monk who lived in the Champagne region of France about three centuries back and he was making conventional wine when he messed up the fermentation process and accidentally came up with a new wine with bubbles in it.’

It pleased Maggie to see that Michael was impressed. She knew for a fact that men liked women who knew stuff. Dumb beauties may be ideal for fun and games but when it came to serious relationships, men preferred a thinking woman to a squeaking bundle of giggles who couldn’t tell an invoice from a love letter.

Professional Reviews

Review – SATURDAY magazine (Nov 16, 2002)
'Alex Nderitu is one of a handful of young, brilliant writers to come off the Kenyan terrain in the recent past. His books (hoping there will be many more), exemplified here by his first effort ‘When the Whirlwind Passes’, may not be the intellectual, didactic fodder that many African writers seem to think is entertaining; they are pure commercial escapism, and brilliantly written at that.

Nderitu uses the Gucci murder as his starting point, taking the story of a fashion mogul’s death by a hit-man and turning it into the story of a Kenyan fashion mogul, Michael Othaya, heir to the Othaya fashions throne. While some major incidents are taken from the real life Gucci story, most of it is taken from the author’s imagination.

Michael Othaya’s problems start before he is even born. Hs father and uncle have been rivals for the Othaya throne, founded by Michael’s grandfather, and though Michael’s father effectively has the reins, Michael’s uncle is not beyond using devilry and malice to have his way. Michael has ,in turn , to struggle against two of his cousins who , following their father’s footsteps, want to ruin his life as much as possible. In the middle of all this, and at the tender age of twenty, Michael meets Maggie, a laundry woman’s daughter, and falls in love with her. In spite of all that he is told about her, he goes ahead and marries her. When Michael is murdered years later, the list of suspects stretches longer than the average arm.

The story is fast paced and the characters are built well. This is a book that is guaranteed to keep you seated for many hours – until the end that is. One feels that the end drags a little too much, especially with the sudden introduction of a mystery narrator who is not known from the beginning. The book also drags because there s too much material on the psyche of each of the Othaya family members, of the murderer(s) and of everyone else who satellites around the Othaya family . A short sweet ending, perhaps offering potential for a sequel, would be much better.

More importantly for the author and the reading public, though, is that this book is available only on the Net, as an e-book (among the fist of its kind by an African writer) and will have to be downloaded onto a palm-held device or computer hard disk, and, e-business being what it is ,will only be available to those with credit cards. If you can access the book, though, please do. It will be worth the energy.'
- Wayua Muli, 'Saturday' magazine staff writer

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