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DYING TO LIVE by Michael Stanley


by Michael Stanley

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-07090-6
Publisher: Minotaur

A detective with the Botswana CID tackles two baffling cases while managing his growing department and dealing with family issues.

An elderly Bushman found dead in the Kalahari is more of a nuisance than a mystery to Botswana DS Batwe Segodi. That is, until an autopsy reveals that the internal organs of the dead man place his age at about 40. Though the man died of a broken neck, the coroner also finds a bullet in his body, dating back several decades. Assistant Superintendent David Bengu, nicknamed Kubu (“hippo” in the Setswana language) for his size, has little patience for the paradoxical, but he does take notice when the corpse is stolen from the morgue in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. Though thefts like this are not uncommon, usually to harvest organs, here the Bushman’s was the only corpse taken. Meanwhile, Kubu’s first female detective, Samantha Khama, is following up on the disappearance of famous witch doctor Botlele Ramala while also battling sexism in the department. For her part, Kubu’s wife, Joy, has little use for old-fashioned witch doctors. Kubu’s investigation of the Bushman takes him to a professor in Minnesota; Samantha finds blood evidence in a home in Gaborone. Could the two cases be related? An additional disappearance adds credence to this theory. On the home front, an illness rocks Kubu’s world.

The sixth installment in Stanley’s franchise (A Death in the Family, 2015, etc.) is the best yet, with both an ingenious mystery and a deeper and more textured depiction of modern Botswana and Kubu’s piece of it.