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A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (2008)

by Nicholas Drayson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Mr Malik (book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5886829,117 (3.91)193
Reserved, honourable Mr Malik. You wouldn't notice him in a Nairobi street - except, perhaps, to comment on his carefully sculpted comb over - but beneath his unprepossessing exterior lies a warm heart and a secret passion. Not even his friends at the Asadi Club know it, but Mr Malik is head-over-heels in love with the leader of the Tuesday morning bird walk of the East African Ornithological Society, Rose Mbikwa. While Mr Malik hesitantly plans how he will ask Rose to the annual Hunt Ball, flashy Harry Kahn arrives in town and makes it clear that he too has Rose in his sights. When Mr Malik blurts out his feelings at the Club a wager is set - whoever sees the most birds in a week will ask Rose to the ball. With boats, planes and guides to get him to the choicest bird-watching spots in Kenya, Harry Kahn's soon noting down everything from pearl-breasted swallows to spur-winged plovers. But Mr Malik's not so easily beaten and with unorthodox methods and far-flung adventures of his own, he's determined to stay in the game.… (more)
  1. 20
    The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Both books have a similar, lighthearted tone, and of course, they have the African setting in common.
  2. 10
    The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies (bergs47)
  3. 00
    The Snake Catcher's Daughter by Michael Pearce (keeley)
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» See also 193 mentions

English (64)  German (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa delivers a gentle tale of birds, love, and mystery.

It is alternately compelling and silly, at times...lovely to read,
except for the assault riflers
and the hardy-har "hadadas". ( )
  m.belljackson | May 22, 2020 |
This book is a little bit romance, a little bit bird watching field guide, a little bit mystery and a little bit Kenya tourism. Altogether they make for a sweet little read.

Mr. Malik is not just the mild mannered, middle-aged Indian man with a comb-over, and as the story unfolds we find out that he is full of surprises, and even surprises himself sometimes. His love for his Tuesday morning bird watching guide, Rose Mbikwa, leads him to undertake a bet to see who can spot and identify the most birds in a week against his boyhood nemesis, Harry Kahn. The winner gets to ask Rose to the annual Nairobi Hunt Club ball. Kahn goes on expensive safaris to look for exotic birds, while Malik stays closer to home but winds up having wild adventures of his own including having his car stolen and being shot at by Somalis.

This is a charming story that would make for a good book to take to the pool or the beach. It’s light, but well written, something that the literary world seems to be in short supply of these days.
( )
  tshrope | Jan 13, 2020 |
A bird counting contest leads to interesting predicaments in Kenya. ( )
  addunn3 | Jan 12, 2020 |
You don't have to love birds to get the humor and appreciation of the characters in this book. Highly recommend. Who is the narrator? I'm curious! And haven't quite figured it out yet. ( )
  Reyesk9 | Sep 23, 2019 |
Gentle and sweet. Enjoyable cozy read. It wasn't a page turner, so I found myself putting it down and picking it up again after reading other books, but I enjoyed the characters.
  akbooks | Sep 12, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nicholas Draysonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bower, HumphreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

Mr Malik (book 1)
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For Bernadette
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'Ah yes,' said Rose Mbikwa, looking up at the large dark bird with elegant tail soaring high above the car park of the Nairobi Museum, 'a black kite. Which is of course, not black but brown.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Reserved, honourable Mr Malik. You wouldn't notice him in a Nairobi street - except, perhaps, to comment on his carefully sculpted comb over - but beneath his unprepossessing exterior lies a warm heart and a secret passion. Not even his friends at the Asadi Club know it, but Mr Malik is head-over-heels in love with the leader of the Tuesday morning bird walk of the East African Ornithological Society, Rose Mbikwa. While Mr Malik hesitantly plans how he will ask Rose to the annual Hunt Ball, flashy Harry Kahn arrives in town and makes it clear that he too has Rose in his sights. When Mr Malik blurts out his feelings at the Club a wager is set - whoever sees the most birds in a week will ask Rose to the ball. With boats, planes and guides to get him to the choicest bird-watching spots in Kenya, Harry Kahn's soon noting down everything from pearl-breasted swallows to spur-winged plovers. But Mr Malik's not so easily beaten and with unorthodox methods and far-flung adventures of his own, he's determined to stay in the game.

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Haiku summary
counting Kenyan birds 
hopes to beat flashy Khan and
waltz with lovely Rose                           [yalliejane]

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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