Night Secrets at Three Hills Town by E. K. Omosa
The Maasai Women Detective Series ~ Book 1
Charity Naserian deserts Korusei village with a bag full of money and one vow, never to return, even after her daughters warn her of dangers in urban centers. Her destination? Three Hills Town, a peaceful urban center where she will start life afresh. But when a shopkeeper is murdered, can this amateur detective find the killer without revealing secrets of the townspeople?
To keep busy, she weaves and sells Maasai beaded jewelry from outside Roadside Enterprises Grocery Store. Her business is picking up in the right direction, but she quickly realizes she never left all her troubles in Korusei. When early morning shoppers find Caspar, the proprietor of Roadside Enterprises murdered in his shop, and the police term the case a robbery gone wrong, Naserian is determined to find the killer of her friend.
While selling her beaded jewelry, Naserian is a typical Maasai woman, but inside, she is an avid detective. And that is her undoing. The deeper she searches for Caspar’s killer, the more secrets she exposes and drives her suspects furious. She learns the hard way, that people of Three Hills have well-kept secrets.
Can this amateur sleuth find Caspar’s killer before it turns the peaceful town into a fearful place to live? Find details in this first novel in, The Maasai Women Detective Series, a Whodunit crime mystery.
Excerpt from chapter one:
“I will be fine. This is not my first challenge.” Naserian murmured to herself as she walked a few paces and reached the only window in her living room. She stared outside. “The town center is visible from here. I will never be bored.”
“Mama! Did you not say you will spend most of your time in the market? Is it not a dangerous place?” Purity, her last born daughter, asked.
Naserian walked back to rest both elbows on the headrest of a dining chair. At her height of five-foot four, she was not much taller than the raised wooden dining chair.
“Danger is everywhere. Did you ever imagine that Korusei would become too dangerous for me to stay? The place I called home for over forty years?”
To hide her annoyance, Naserian’s small oval eyes beseeched the white ceiling overhead. In tilting her head upwards, her tray of Maasai collar beads flipped up, then down, hitting the chair.
The silence in the room drew Naserian’s attention back to Purity and she could tell her daughter was in distress. Tears brightened Purity’s eyes, threatening to rain down her round face.
Naserian had noticed that Purity’s tears flowed more easily since the death of Pulei, her father.
Pulei, Naserian’s husband of forty-one years, died two years ago and since then, conflicts at his Boma had intensified.
To distract her daughter from whatever thought had brought such pain to her eyes, Naserian smoothed a hand over the clear varnish of her mahogany dining table. “This will last me another lifetime, let them take whatever of my household items from Korusei.”
Purity stared at her mother. “Did you not say you have moved on, that you will forget the past?” She asked as she edged to one side of the chair and massaged the bottom of her thigh behind the knee, as if it had gone numb. “I still think you should go back home. No one will kill you. It is your home.” She said in a raised voice.
Naserian shook her head, like to dispel a bad thought. “I didn't mean to hurt you. I have moved on.” She entwined both hands at the back of her head as her eyes besought those of her daughter. “I will not go back to that village.” She said, walking to the door and gripping the doorknob. “This place is secure. I will be fine.” Naserian uttered a phrase she had repeated uncountable times, since her arrival at Three Hills Town in October.
Three months ago, Naserian moved seventy kilometres, from her marital home in Korusei village to Three Hills Town, due to conflicts over livestock and land. On some days, her co-wives and their sons said two hundred and sixty heads of cattle were too many for one person, Naserian. On other days they said Naserian did not need the seventy acres of land titled in her name.
Ten years ago, Pulei had subdivided his land and given title deeds to each of his five wives and to his married sons. Everyone in Pulei’s Boma had appeared content and stayed peaceful, until Pulei died. Pulei’s third wife and some of his sons sold part of their land before they turned their anger on Naserian. This was a new development she could not explain.
Over time, the quarrels turned into threats, which Naserian reported to the local chief and later to the police, but all in vain. In some cases, she was dismissed, politely. “Mama. No one will kill you, that’s a minor domestic issue, go back home and talk with your people.” Those words from the officer commanding a local police station had never stopped haunting her.
She could not stay at the Boma, more so when Ondicho and Minko, sons of Pulei’s second and third wives had found courage to insult her. As Pulei’s first wife, Naserian was their first mother, and was to be respected.
Naserian wished the police officer who insisted that no one would hurt her would put some effort to learn what was happening in Maasai homes, the country, even the world. Then he would know not to discount her fears. Naserian had heard enough stories. An elderly man hacked to death when he put a caution on the title deeds of the land he had subdivided and titled to his married sons. Of a mother of seven trod over into silence as night thieves drove her livestock from her kraal. The latest family feud was twelve kilometers away in the next village where sons of the same mother shed blood after their wives had injured a cow while fighting on whose day it was to milk.
Naserian sighed before she pulled a dining chair and sat. She was thoughtful as she shook her head, sending her neck beads into a sideways jingle, which she quieted by pressing her hand on them.
Naserian’s eyes darted to the clock on the wall, a gift from Joyce, her second born daughter, who had visited early in the week. Joyce had stayed long enough to praise her mother’s choice of residence before she excused herself and left.
The silence in the room was too loud, prompting Naserian to turn the direction of Purity. Their eyes locked. “You may now go back to the city, before your husband gets home from work,” she said and watched as Purity shushed her.
Naserian understood why her daughter did not utter a word, she was focused, blinking many times to deter the tears brimming in her eyes.
Purity’s action prompted Naserian to add, “It is three o’clock, it will be past five by the time you arrive at your house. A husband should never arrive home ahead of his wife.” Naserian vacated her chair as she tried to ponder when and how women changed. While married to Pulei, she could not recall a time he was home ahead of her – in the few occasions when she attended a women’s ceremony and was delayed, one of her co-wives would be home to welcome Pulei in the evening.
She wondered what Ngorosi, Purity’s husband, would do if he arrived home and his wife was absent – who would welcome him? Who would serve him food? Her case was worse as they lived in the city, and she did not have children to serve their father while his wife was away. That would be a cold house for a man, having no one to welcome him home.