The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu (Detective Kubu Series #2)
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The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu (Detective Kubu Series #2)

4.6 8
by Michael Stanley

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“The African Columbo….Like the first book to feature Kubu, A Carrion Death, this is a smart, satisfyingly complex mystery. [Grade] A.”
Entertainment Weekly


The second book in the Inspector Kubu series—penned by a pair of Crime Writers’ Association Award-winning South African authors writing under the


“The African Columbo….Like the first book to feature Kubu, A Carrion Death, this is a smart, satisfyingly complex mystery. [Grade] A.”
Entertainment Weekly


The second book in the Inspector Kubu series—penned by a pair of Crime Writers’ Association Award-winning South African authors writing under the name Michael Stanley—The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu treats readers to a gripping and atmospheric  story of money, murder, and hidden motives at a remote bush camp in northern Botswana. Set in a country immortalized by Alexander McCall Smith in his The #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels, The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu again features an unforgettable lead character the New York Times Book Review calls, “Hugely appealing—big and solid and smart enough to grasp all angles of [a] mystery.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Stanley's fine second mystery to feature Botswana police detective David Bengu (after 2008's A Carrion Death), Bengu, an overweight gourmet aptly nicknamed Kubu (Setswana for hippopotamus), investigates the murders of two male guests at an isolated bush camp. One victim was a black South African tourist; the other, according to his fingerprints, was Goodluck Tinubu, supposedly killed 29 years earlier in the Rhodesian civil war. A third camp guest, who's disappeared, becomes the prime suspect. While the local police want to blame the country's lucrative drug trade for the murders, Bengu believes the key lies in Goodluck's background, though many people, including Bengu's father, knew Goodluck as a thoughtful, devoted teacher. The story runs on a little too long, as though Stanley, the South African writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, couldn't bear to leave this evocative setting. Readers will feel the same way. (June)

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Library Journal

When two guests at the remote Jackalberry bush camp in northern Botswana are murdered, police discover that one of the dead men, Zimbabwean teacher Goodluck Tinubu, was already dead. Assistant Superintendent Kubu Bengu is sent to oversee the investigation, which gets more complicated when Joy, Bengu's beloved wife, is attacked in their home and he receives threatening phone calls. Following his spectacular debut, A Carrion Death, Stanley comes roaring back with an even better tale. Bringing a love of Africa similar to Alexander McCall Smith's popular "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, the author has created an excellent new venue for those who love to read about other cultures while enjoying a good mystery. Highly recommended. [Stanley is actually the writing team of South Africans Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.-Ed.]

—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
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.
From the Publisher
"Together, Stanley and Prebble weave the threads of history, politics, culture, and murder into a tale that will intrigue fans of The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency and those who enjoy mysteries with exotic settings." —AudioFile

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Detective Kubu Series, #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu
A Detective Kubu Mystery

Chapter One

The farewells had been said many years ago, so Goodluck hugged his old comrade and left without a word. He zipped the tent door closed and started along the path to his own bush tent. The waning half-moon had risen; he was glad he did not need his flashlight. Goodluck came to a fork. Straight ahead the path led past the center of Jackalberry Camp to the guest tents on the other side. The right branch turned up a small hill to a view of the lagoon. It was a spectacular spot at sunrise, popular with early risers. Now it would be deserted, and on a whim he climbed the short distance. The moon silvered the lagoon, making him think of the great river that downstream defined his homeland. One day he hoped to end his self-imposed exile and return with dignity.

He heard a noise—rustling leaves? But there was no wind. Despite the many years since the war, his bush-craft took over, and he faded into the thick brush with no hint of shadow or silhouette. A moment later a man appeared, walking along the main path almost silently. He seemed to be looking for something. Or for someone. He glanced up the path to the lookout, hesitated, but then continued straight. From Goodluck's position in the thicket he couldn't see the man well, but his face was black, and he was heavily built. As he moved the moonlight caught white sneakers. Goodluck sucked in his breath, let the man pass, and then followed soundlessly. Shortly afterward the man turned off toward the main area of the camp. Goodluck was puzzled. Was it coincidence, or had he been followed? If so, for what reason?

Arrivingat his tent, he saw flickering light within. He had left the storm lantern alight on the bedside table. Suspicious now, he peered around the edge of the fly-screen window so that someone inside wouldn't be able to see him. But the tent was empty. Everything seemed exactly as he had left it. Satisfied, he entered, zipped the flap door closed, and got ready for bed. He was tired and tense, but long ago he had learned to sleep quickly and deeply, even under threat.

About two hours later he was wakened by the sound of the door zipper. In his war days he would have been instantly alert, but he awoke momentarily confused and blinded by the beam of a strong flashlight, and it took him a few seconds to react.

That was much too long.

The next morning the camp staff went about their business as usual. The cook lit the wood stove, clattered about with his pans, and chatted to his pet bird. The cleaner, Beauty, helped her husband Solomon set up for breakfast. The wooden tables, clustered under two ancient jackalberry trees, needed to be wiped down, spread with tablecloths, and laid. Then Beauty would clean the central camp area and, after that, would get to the tents of the guests who were up and about. By habit, she would start with the one furthest to the east and work back toward the main camp area.

The outdoor dining area overlooked Botswana's Linyanti River to a hazy Namibia on the far side. It was a mesmerizing expanse of water, lilies, papyrus, and reeds. Hundreds of birds hugged the water's edge, sometimes rising in flocks, other times lunging to catch unwary fish or multicolored tree frogs. Across the water, six majestic fish eagles perched in a tree, occasionally shrieking their haunting cry. Black egrets in abundance, darters and cormorants, jacanas, black crakes, and pied kingfishers hovering above the water. In the trees nearby, cheeky drongos imitated other birds, weaverbirds flew to and fro selecting grass to thread into their intricate nests, and clouds of red-billed quelea occasionally obscured the sun. Across one of the channels, four large crocodiles lazed on the white sand, pretending to be asleep, but cannily watching for prey through nearly closed eyes. Farther downstream, in a deeper pool, the ears of several hippos twitched, their noses barely breaking the water for air. Terrapin swam across the calm water and climbed onto hippo backs to sunbathe.

A few hundred yards to the right of the dining area, three mokoros, coarsely hewn from the trunks of sausage trees, were pulled up on the grassy bank between acacia bushes. Another glided silently across the shallows toward the bank. A white man with a sun-burned face sheltering under a floppy hat, binoculars slung around his neck, perched on a pile of dry reeds in the front of the boat, and scribbled notes in a spiral-bound notebook protected by a waterproof cover. At the back, a man, past middle age but wiry, with a sweat-stained shirt, stood propelling the mokoro with a long pole. When the mokoro reached the water's edge, William Boardman wobbled to the front and jumped ashore. After thanking Enoch, the poler, he walked over to the outdoor dining area and joined his wife, Amanda, who had already started breakfast.

"Good morning, dear," he said brightly, putting his hand affectionately on her shoulder. He was rewarded with a warm smile. "I saw a finfoot and a malachite kingfisher this morning. Enoch saw the finfoot a hundred meters away. He's a great spotter! We must get him to take us out this afternoon." He leaned forward and whispered, "I also chatted to him about getting curios. Dupie's been a bit slack on getting decent stock recently. Maybe Enoch can help us out."

A few moments later the cook, Suthani Moremi, wandered from the kitchen tent to ask William for his order. As always, on his shoulder Moremi sported a large, gray, crested bird with a long tail—a common go-away-bird. Each visit, the Boardmans enjoyed a private joke involving the bird. William always insisted that since it was indigenous and not caged, they could add it to their bird list. Amanda pointed out that it was obviously tame—and so, ineligible. Fortunately fate inevitably intervened as wild go-away-birds would descend on nearby fig trees to enjoy the fruit. Over the years, the Boardmans had developed a soft spot for Kweh, who made frequent sorties onto their table at meals, waiting patiently for a treat. His inquisitive eyes and cocked, crested head made him irresistible.

Kweh was Moremi's best friend. The cook constantly spoke to him, sharing observations and asking advice. "Do you think we should serve mango with the fish or just lemons?" Or "I think that everyone has had enough dessert. Or should I make some more pancakes?" For his part, Kweh appeared to listen intently, sometimes squawking an answer, sometimes nibbling Moremi's ear. Occasionally, if disturbed, Kweh would let out a raucous shriek that sounded like a shrill "go away." The call also sounded like "kweh," so that became the bird's name.

The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu
A Detective Kubu Mystery
. Copyright (c) by Michael Stanley . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Together, Stanley and Prebble weave the threads of history, politics, culture, and murder into a tale that will intrigue fans of The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency and those who enjoy mysteries with exotic settings." —-AudioFile

Meet the Author

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Sears was born in Johannesburg, grew up in Cape Town and Nairobi, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. Trollip was also born in Johannesburg and has been on the faculty of the universities of Illinois, Minnesota, and North Dakota, and at Capella University. He divides his time between Knysna, South Africa, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu (Detective Kubu Series) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like Botswana stories. This one took me in quick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes the reader want to get straight to Botswana and have dinner with Kubu.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this second adventure of the Botswanan detective, Kubu. It was as good as the first one. Again, the setting, the history of the area, and the modern-day problems plaguing this area of the world add to the readability of this story. Not only is this a well-thought out mystery, which will have you guessing until the end, but I learned so much about a country and its histroy I feel that I have been on a 2-week "safari" through Kubu's land. The characters are unique, multi-dimesional, and very relatable. The story is poignant and fascinating, making the reader question the very limited information we are given concerning the African continent. This would make a fantastic movie.
FMRox More than 1 year ago
Asst. Superintendant Bengu is sent to Jackalberry island to investigate the murders of two guests. The mystery ensues from there. I do like the setting of this mystery. They travel all over Botswana and the author gives a good description of the island, the cities, the bush. It was fun and inspiring to look at a map and see where the novel takes you. Most of the characters are charming when they should be and unpleasant when called for. However, the story dragged on for 70 plus chapters. It was unnecessarily long and tedious. By the 3rd or 4th telling of what had really happened, I had lost interest and just wanted to get to the end of the book. It was about 100 pages too long.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Botswana Assistant Superintendent David "Kubu" Bengu investigates the murders of two men at the remote Jackalberry bush camp. Both Sipho Langa a black South African tourist and the Goodluck Tinubu were guests. The problem with the identification of the latter based on his fingerprints is that Goodluck died almost three decades ago during the Rhodesian civil war. The third Zimbabwean Ishmael Zondo has vanished with the cops assuming he is the killer on the run tying him to drug trafficking though camp manger Dupie says he took him to the airport. Bengu thinks otherwise as he feels Goodluck is the key to solving the homicides. So he is surprised that many people including his own father thought highly of Goodluck as a teacher. The case is going nowhere for him with the pressure upstairs to find the missing third guest and at home when his wife Joy is attacked. The second Kubu Botswana police procedural (see A CARRION DEATH) is a terrific whodunit that focuses on the investigation, but also showcases the author team's love of the landlocked South African country. In fact the leisure stroll through the countryside while making inquiries provides a deep look at this nation, but does take time from solving the case. Fans, especially those of The No.1 Ladies´ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith will enjoy this engaging "geographical" murder mystery as Michael Stanley provides a deep look into this democracy. Harriet Klausner
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