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Death of the Mantis (Detective Kubu Series #3)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Death of the Mantis

    I like all three but this one may be the best. I'm wating on #4.

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Back to Basics

    The title is derived from the symbol, a praying mantis, of the People, the “Bushmen” of Botswana, the setting for this, the third Detective Kubu mystery. Kubu, the nickname for David Bengu, assistant superintendent of the CID, means hippo, which describes his girth. Now a father, Kubu faces the challenges of protecting his family from the dangers of his profession and the love of his job.

    And no greater tests confront him than those in this novel. Initially, Kubu faces a relatively simple case: A park ranger is found dead, with three Bushmen near the body. One detective decides the three are guilty of the murder, but Kubu is beseeched by a boyhood Bushman friend to look into the case. The lack of evidence forces Kubu to free them. Subsequently, additional murders in the vicinity raise further questions and lead Kubu deeper into the investigation.

    The authors [Michael Stanley is the nom de plume of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip] provide significant insights into the lives and culture of the Bushmen, sort of nomads living a primitive existence in the Botswanaian desert. Of course, these observations play a crucial part in solving the murders. It is an absorbing work, intriguing from the first page. Carefully constructed, without a superfluous word, the novel carries the reader swiftly from beginning to a logical, but unexpected, conclusion. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    how law enforcement deals with the nomadic Bushmen-that make this a superb mystery

    In the Kalahari in Botswana, Maguasehube ranger station office manager Thebe Ndoli and Maguasehube ranger station head Peter Vusi find one of their game rangers Tawana Monzo dead in a desert locale way beyond their duty station. Detective Sergeant Phinda "Detective Stone Wall" Lerako arrests three Bushmen who were at the murder scene.

    Educated Bushman Khumanego finds his plea to the detective ignored. He asks his Botswana Criminal Investigation Department Assistant Superintendent to look into the murder case. CID Director Jacob Mabaku approves Kubu's inquiry but admonishes him not to cause problems for the local cops. However Kubu finds evidence proving an unknown person was also at the murder scene while his immediate supervisor Detective Sergeant Phinda Lerako demands he backs down until a second similar murder of a Namibian "tourist" in the same arid area occurs.

    The third Detective Kubu mystery (see The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu and A Carrion Death) is a strong police procedural in which Botswana plays a major role in the investigation. The whodunit is entertaining and very different in outlook than the whimsical cases of Precious Ramotswe (by Alexander McCall Smith). However, like Mr. Smith's protagonist, it is the profound look into the country; in the Kubu case how law enforcement deals with the nomadic Bushmen that make this a superb mystery.

    Harriet Klausner

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