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A CARRION DEATH by Michael Stanley


by Michael Stanley

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-1255240-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

Murder and collateral tumult in contemporary Botswana.

Ranger Andries Botha and professor of ecology Bongani Sibisi find a corpse being devoured by vultures on the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. They assume the victim is a poacher, but some details, like the very public location of the body, raise questions. The pair reports their finding to David Bengu, known as “Kubu,” the assistant superintendent of Botswana’s Criminal Investigation Department. An expansive and life-loving family man, Kubu proceeds to investigate. The case advances by inches; after much leisurely legwork through interesting local color, Kubu learns that the victim is probably a German tourist involved in some violent scrape. But many other plotlines compete for his attention. His childhood friend Angus Hofmeyr, who gave Kubu his nickname, and Angus’s twin sister Dianna return to the area after recently inheriting their father’s Botswana Cattle and Mining Company. Dianna is involved in a hot, risky affair with the manager of the local diamond mine. Blackmail, drug smuggling and corporate theft are waiting in the wings.

A stately debut whose pseudonymous authors, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, are both experts on the region. Their generously detailed portrait of Botswana and of larger-than-life Inspector Kubu augur well for the proposed series, though mystery fans might wish for a more streamlined whodunit.