White Mischief, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Just before 3am on January 24th, 1941, when Britain was preoccupied with surviving the Blitz, the body of Josslyn Hay, Earl of Erroll, was discovered lying on the floor of his Buick, at a road intersection some miles outside Nairobi, with a bullet in his head.

A leading figure in Kenya's colonial community, the Earl had recently been appointed Military Secretary, but he was primarily a seducer of other men's wives.

Sir Henry Delves Broughton, whose wife was Erroll's current conquest, had an obvious motive for the murder, but no one was ever convicted and the question of who killed him became a classic mystery, a scandal and cause celebre.

Among those who became fascinated with the Erroll case was Cyril Connolly who joined up with James Fox for a major investigation of the case in 1969 for the Sunday Times magazine.

After his death James Fox inherited the obsession and a commitment to continue in pursuit of the story both in England and Kenya in the late 1970s.

One day, on a veranda overlooking the Indian Ocean, Fox came across a piece of evidence that seemed to bring all the fragments and pieces together and convinced him that he saw a complete picture...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: True crime
  • ISBN: 9780099766711

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A re-read to fit in with the Kenyan theme of the previous two books. It is a non-fiction investigation of the Erroll murder on which the film of the same name was based. It is very interesting, even if it doesn't come to any conclusion about who really did kill the Earl of Erroll.

Review by

White Mischief: The Murder of Lord Erroll by James Fox is a 2014 Open Road Media Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book examines the infamous case of Lord Erroll and the wild and kinky goings on of the upper class English while vacationing in Kenya. Many of us true crime buffs are familiar at least to some extent with this story. It's been fictionalized in other books and of course there was the movie entitled “White Mischief”- released in 1987 and stars Sarah Miles. The movie script was also written by James Fox, the author of this book.The time is 1941, the place is Kenya. The wealthy and the titled are part of the “Happy Valley” group and indulge in drugs, entirely too much alcohol and are into partner swapping, adultery, affairs, sex games and of course sooner or later someone takes things personally and a man loses his life. While the world is at war or preparing for war this group happily trounces about without a care in the world, with too much money, and too much time on their hands. The murder of Josslyn Hay throws cold water, well ice cold water on the festivities as the lifestyle of the rich and famous is scrutinized publicly. Josslyn and Diana fall in love mere months after her marriage to an older man. Diana and Josslyn do not really hide the affair and are seen out together often and apparently Diana is truthful about the affair with her husband. When Hays was found in his car with a bullet to the head naturally, Jock Delves, Diana's husband was a prime suspect. He was arrested and went to trial. This where the book shifts gears and begins to focus on Jock Delves, the trial and subsequent articles written about the case back in the states. Cyril Connelly was James Fox's co-researcher and I do understand the author's wish to give the man credit for his work, but I did ask myself a few times if perhaps the second half of the book was about the murder case or Cyril Connelly. Otherwise, the trial, the evidence, the testimony and the curious behavior of Jock was very interesting. I would have to agree that Jock made the best suspect for the murder, but there were others, former lovers of Josslyn's as an example, that very could have come unhinged by his publicly flaunting his affair with Diana and how obviously in love they were. While most researchers and authors believe they know who killed Lord Erroll, there is still just enough doubt that we are left with a feeling of uncertainty. As is so often the case, once a trial has taken place and the accused is acquitted the murder, the case remained unsolved and is to this very day no one has ever paid for the murder of Lord Erroll.Even if you are familiar with this case, even if you have seen the 1987 movie, I do recommend you read this book because there is new evidence that came to light after the movie was made and those new facts are included in this book. The journalistic style of writing could at times become a little dull. But, the antics of the Happy Valley members and the excerpts from the trial were enough to make up for that. So, if you enjoy true crime, especially historical true crime, which is personal favorite of mine, then you will really enjoy this one. Overall this one gets 4 stars.