Lumush and his three friends live with their families in Railway Estate, spending their free time in the countryside or in the yards behind the estate, playing a game of chance called pata potea next to the wreck of an old car. When the boys' attention begins to wander farther, they discover a deserted house believed to be haunted. As they explore the house, they learn that it's not ghosts they have to fear but the malevolent Mwachuma. By day he works in his junkyard, but by night he and his accomplices steal coffee from the railway yard and smuggle it into the "ghost house." As the young boys are drawn into this criminal underworld, they face a mounting danger that threatens both themselves and their families.
With rich storytelling and gripping adventure, Playing a Dangerous Game is a brilliant debut set in 1970s Kenya from a talented new voice in children's fiction.