All the evidence in a double murder points in one direction. But Detective Kubu isn’t so sure.
Staff at the remote Jackalberry Camp in northern Botswana are horrified to discover the body of former Zimbabwean Goodluck Tinubu, murdered in his tent, his throat slit. Two other guests, the South African Sipho Langa and the Zimbabwean Ishmael Zondo, have gone missing. When Langa is found at the bottom of a cliff on the edge of the camp, his skull bashed in, Zondo, driven to the closest airstrip early in the morning by camp manager Dupie after reporting a family emergency, becomes the prime suspect. Enter David “Kubu” Bengu, of Botswana’s Criminal Investigation Department. Huge both of person and of personality (his nickname means “hippo”), Detective Kubu takes firm control. His methodical investigation provides Stanley ample opportunity for local color and an important domestic revelation when his wife Joy shares the ecstatic news that she’s pregnant with their first child. Upon learning that Zondo’s real name is Peter Jabulani and that he was traveling with a fake passport, everyone but Kubu rushes to judgment. As the title hints, however, the solution to the complex mystery is rooted in an unusual incident from Tinubu’s past as a teacher in Zimbabwe.
Kubu’s second case is as leisurely and well-appointed as the first (A Carrion Death, 2008), with maps, glossary and a helpful cast of characters. Stanley—actually the South African team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip—should satisfy all armchair travelers and most mystery fans.