Death of the Mantis (Detective Kubu Series #3)

Death of the Mantis (Detective Kubu Series #3)

by Michael Stanley

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In the southern Kalahari area of Botswana—an arid landscape of legends that speak of lost cities, hidden wealth, and ancient gods—a fractious ranger named Monzo is found dying from a severe head wound in a dry ravine. Three Bushmen surround the doomed man, but are they his killers or there to help? Detective David “Kubu” Bengu is on the case, an investigation that his old school friend Khumanego claims is motivated by racist antagonism on the part of the local police. But when a second bizarre murder, and then a third, seem to point also to the nomadic tribe, the intrepid Kubu must journey into the depths of the Kalahari to uncover the truth. What he discovers there will test all his powers of detection . . . and his ability to remain alive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062098894
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/06/2011
Series: Detective Kubu Series , #3
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 507,025
File size: 944 KB

About 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.

What People are Saying About This

Louise Penny

“DEATH OF THE MANTIS is the best book I’ve read in a very long time. A fantastic read. Brilliant!”

Charles Todd

“Assistant Superintendent Kubu is back! A page-turner from start to finish. Michael Stanley’s enthralling series is a must-read for anyone who enjoys clever plotting, terrific writing, and a fascinating glimpse of today’s Africa. Kubu—DEATH OF THE MANTIS—Michael Stanley: the perfect mystery trifecta for any crime fan.”

Timothy Hallinan

“DEATH OF THE MANTIS is the best book yet in one of the best series going: a serious novel with a mystery at its core that takes us places we’ve never been, thrills and informs us, and leaves us changed by the experience. I loved this book.”

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Death of the Mantis 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
austcrimefiction on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
DEATH OF THE MANTIS is the third book in the Detective David 'Kubu' Bengu series from writing duo Stanley Trollip and Michael Sears, under the pen name of Michael Stanley. (For those that haven't read this series 'Kubu' means hippopotamus which is a commentary on Bengu's size.) I remember, before this book was completed, the authors explaining the life and plight of the Bushman, a race of people who come from the Kalahari Desert, who traditionally live a nomadic, simple existence with their own sacred places, rituals and beliefs - not unlike our own Aboriginal races lifestyle and plight. This aspect was part of the reason I've been greatly looking forward to this book, and I was not at all disappointed. The glimpse into Bushman culture was fascinating, and the other aspects of this series - the humour, the personalities, the mystery were solid.Bengu and Khumanego were unlikely friends at school just taking their comparative physical attributes into account, but their friendship was based on their joint status as outsiders. Khumanego calls on Bengu after many years of no contact to seek his help when two Bushman hunters are arrested for the murder of a park ranger - an anathema to basic Bushman belief on the sanctity of all life. Meanwhile tribal elder Gobiwasi is revisiting the memories and places of his youth - preparing for his own death in the time-honoured tradition of Bushman culture.At home things have changed for Bengu and his much loved wife Joy - who are now parents to daughter, Tumi. Tumi's arrival has undoubtedly caused disruption in Kubu's happy home life, and somewhat unexpectedly, Kubu seems to be a little distant, disinterested even in the turmoil his beloved Joy is feeling. This is, perhaps, the only area of these books that may cause a little disquiet in some fans of the series - it does seem that Kubu is being just a tad old-fashioned about this child raising business - absenting himself to follow the case, perhaps not as sensitive to Joy's difficulties as you'd have expected. Other than this slightly odd personal characteristic, Kubu is still Kubu. Implacable, inclined towards the cerebral end of detecting, Kubu is patient, careful and painstaking. But in DEATH OF THE MANTIS he also does something unexpected, something dangerously close to a major mistake,As befits a continent the size of Africa, the range of crime fiction coming out there is widening, it seems, every day. DEATH OF THE MANTIS is a police procedural, with a distinct African feeling to the action, and whilst there are plenty of deaths and mayhem they aren't extremely violent, nor could you ever say they are on the cosier side. Perhaps the better definition is personality driven, police procedurals, with a real feeling of life in Botswana and highlighting of real, and important issues. Hence I found the window into the life of the Bushmen most rewarding. The similarities between much of their culture and our own local Aboriginal cultures was enlightening, and it was saddening to see the same sorts of insensibility and disregard in the other cultures of both countries. Delivered with a touch of gentle wit and a personality that seems to fit perfectly in a hippopotamus of a man, Bengu feels intrinsically part of the landscape. The crimes that the authors work into their books come from that landscape, as do the investigations and the solutions. Botswana is as much a part of these stories, as is Bengu's family, his friends, colleagues and in the case of DEATH OF THE MANTIS the Bushmen, the victim's, and the motivation for these crimes which all seem to just be perfectly of the place that they come from. It will be interesting to see how fans of the series react to this book, but it would be even better to see new readers immerse themselves in Bengu's Botswana.(All the books come with a glossary and a pronunciation guide for readers who like to know the details of what they are reading about).
TommyB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an "Early Reviewer" book. Death of the Mantis is an enjoyable, entertaining and interesting novel. On one level, , it¿s a classic detective mystery, with mysterious deaths piling up and a frustrated but dogged detective trying to get to the bottom of things. What makes it more interesting than most such stories is that it is set in Botswana, and involves the interaction between the dominant Motswana culture and the San, or Bushman, culture. Detective ¿Kubu¿ (hippopotamus) Bengu is as ¿traditionally built¿ as that other beloved Motswana detective, Precious Ramotswe, or perhaps even moreso. However, unlike the heroine of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series, Kubu is after real murderers. There is, by the way, an amusing and sly reference to that other agency in the book. This is evidently the third in the etective Kubu series. Based on this novel, the first two are well worth searching for.
mamzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm having a very hard time understanding why I didn't love this book more than I did. It has so many features I love in a good story - takes place in a foreign country, features a police detective with a home life, involves a group of people with a very different culture, takes place in a dangerous environment. However, with all this going for the book it fell a little flat for me and I had to push myself through the first two-thirds of the book.Assistant Superintendent David Bengu is nicknamed Kubu, 'hippopotamus" to his friends because of his size. Growing up he had been teased because of this and became friends with a Bushman, Khumanego, another victim of bullies. He learned all he knew about life and living in the Kalahari Desert from his friend. When his friend asked for his help in a case where three Bushmen were accused of the murder of a park ranger, Kubu couldn't refuse. He became involved in the investigation of a series of murders which somehow involved the Bushmen and a group of hills in a very remote area of the desert. And by remote it is meant days by car over a nearly featureless, arid, brutally hot landscape. As inhospitable as the Kalahari is, it is home to a small (in number as well as stature) group of indigenous people who are in danger of losing their precarious way of life as has happened to indigenous people in so many other parts of the world.Kubu has a sweet wife who is presently overwhelmed by a new baby. Leaving her at home to spend days out in the desert hunting bad guys is hard for Kubu, as is leaving behind the luxuries of three square meals and an occasional glass of good wine. But he realizes he may be the only person that can help his friend clear the Bushmen and make sure that their way of life is preserved.So with all of this going on, why didn't I love this book? Was the author afraid that if he described the desert more lyrically I would want to hop on a plane and invade his space? (Not likely!) Kubu was a likable man who dealt with the archetypal stubborn boss and the passionate friend with an agenda. But somehow I was left dissatisfied with the ease some things came to him and maybe this made me resent him. Maybe his wife was a touch too whiny (which always annoys me).I do have to say that the last third of the book was more exciting and came to a satisfactory if not unexpected ending. I was left with a sincere hope that the indigenous people of the Kalahari will be left in peace for generations to come though the sad reality is that progress will bulldoze them like what has happened to so many other groups.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When a group of Bushmen are arrested for murdering a park ranger, accusations of racism follow pretty quickly. Detective Kubu Bengu is sent in to investigate. One of his childhood friends is himself a Bushman and he has become an advocate for his people. He is adamant that the men are innocent. And as Bengu begins to investigate, he uncovers complications everywhere he turns. Then there's another death. I like this series and this book doesn't disappoint. The climax in the desert had me on the edge of my seat. Great stuff.I won this one through the Early Reviewers. Thanks for the chance to read it.
macabr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always have a book with me and, often, when I am asked about the book and I mention the title, the author, and the genre, the response is, ¿I don¿t read mysteries. I don¿t like Agatha Christie.¿ Fact is, I don¿t like Agatha Christie. If that style was all there is in mystery, I wouldn¿t be reading mysteries either but the popularity of the genre shows that most readers do know how far mysteries have come, incorporating societal problems into stories, making them more believable and more thought-provoking.Michael Stanley¿s DEATH OF THE MANTIS is a case in point. The body of a game ranger is found in the Kalahari desert in Botswana. When the police arrive, they find three Bushmen with the dying man, trying to give him water. Monzo has suffered a severe injury to his head and he dies before reaching the hospital. The men who discover the body are arrested for the murder. There is no evidence that the Bushmen were involved but in Botswana it is case closed, no need to look for other suspects.Assistant Superintendent David Bengu, known as Kubu to everyone, receives a call from a childhood friend, Khumanego, a Bushmen. He and David had attended school together, drawn to each other because neither fit in. But they have lost touch over the years and each knows little about the adult life of the other. As boys, Khumanego had taken Kubu to the desert and showed him how to survive. Now Kubu tries to survive among animals of the two-legged variety and serpents more dangerous than those who hide under rocks. Khumanego is an advocate and spokesman for his people, helping the Bushmen whose life style is minunderstood and whose group is denegrated.Khumanego tells Kubu, ¿The Bushmen see things very differently from other peoples¿.Your people see themselves as separate from everything¿We see ourselves as part of everything. We are part of the sky and of the earth. And the sky is part of the earth, and the earth part of the sky. Just as day is part of the night. And night part of day. And you and me are part of each other. When you dream, you change my world, just as my dreams change yours.¿ Khumanego no longer remembers or appreciates any of the things he learned as a student. The two old friends no longer have common ground on which they can build the trust they had enjoyed as boys but Kubu honors the bond they had and the Bushmen are released. Before long, there are two more murders and the Bushmen have disappeared. Again, no need to look further; the Bushmen must have been the killers as first thought.Kubu is drawn into another case, that of a missing man who had been looking for an old map. Since this is Africa, there is inevitably a search for precious stones that brings in the worst people to Botswana and brings out the worst in good people.The books by Michael Stanley bring Botswana to life. The section of DEATH OF THE MANTIS that describes Kubu¿s experience in the desert is outstanding. The sun in a desert is no longer the giver of life but an enemy ready to steal life when humans fail to acknowledge that somethings are bigger than what is conceived of in the minds of men.Kubu makes the stories work. He is intelligent but he doesn¿t let it get in the way of doing what needs to be done even if his actions fly in the face of common sense. He is devoted to his family, his wife, his new baby, his parents, and his in-laws. He knows that the family is the cornerstone of society and he does his best to make his part of the stone tight, without chinks that would undermine its integrity. He works to maintain that same integrity in his country.The lives of the Bushmen in Botswana are becoming increasingly complicated by the desire of the government to move them to settlements which, for want of a better word, could be called reservations. Their numbers are decreasing and their philosophy that there can be no such thing as individual ownership is also similar to that of Native Americans. As a minority is a soci
cathyskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First Line: The desert glowed in the dawn light.In this wonderful third entry in the Detective Kubu mystery series set in Botswana, Detective David Bengu (call him Kubu, please) finds himself torn between the orders of his superior officer and the request of a beloved childhood friend.As little boys, Kubu and his Bushman schoolmate Khumanego are the ones who are "different"-- the outsiders. As a result, they became close friends. Once they left school, however, they lost track of each other, so when Kubu first sees his old friend, he is overjoyed. Khumanego has become an advocate for his people, and he believes that the incarceration of three of his fellow tribesmen shows racial motivation on the part of the local police. When a second, and then a third, murder occurs in the same area-- both pointing to the nomadic Bushman tribe-- Kubu's superior changes his tune and lets the detective go to investigate. When Kubu arrives and begins to piece clues and facts together, he finds himself on what may well turn out to be a one-way trip into the unforgiving Kalahari Desert.The writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip have outdone themselves. I was held captive by this book! The descriptions of the Kalahari Desert reminded me of journeys my husband and I have taken out into the desert here: the vastness, the immensity of the sky, the seeming emptiness, the heat, the sun...the sense of being the only people on the face of the earth. Temper that with Kubu and his wife Joy adjusting to life as the parents of a demanding little baby, and you have a book that covers a lot of territory and a lot of emotions-- and covers them all very well indeed.I welcomed learning some of the legends and customs of the Bushmen, but for me what was foremost was the story itself. Sears and Trollip have written a compelling mystery with a tightly woven plot and excellent misdirection. Just as I became convinced I knew whom the killer was, I'd be proven wrong and given another false set of coordinates for my GPS-- and away I would go. I finally realized the killer's identity and still hoped I was wrong. When Kubu's investigation led into the depths of the desert, I became anxious for his safety. As I said, I was completely caught up in this book!Do you need to read the other two books in the series before reading this one? No, you don't. Personally I think you're a bit touched if you want to miss a single chapter in the life of one of my favorite detectives!
FionaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When a park ranger is found dead in the Kalahari, suspicion falls on a nearby group of Bushmen. Detective Kubu's childhood friend, also a Bushman, convinces him to enter the investigation and clear the Bushmen of the charge. Soon, another man is found murdered in the desert and Kubu suspects the man who found the body ... a man who has ties to both the dead man he found and the dead ranger, and a map to a secret spot deep in the desert. Are the Bushmen to blame? Does the map point to a motherlode of diamonds? Or is something more sinister going on? Detective Kubu intends to find out.I became interested in Botswana after reading the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. Mma Ramotswe and Detective Kubu both investigate mysteries from Gabarone but there is not much similarity beyond that. McCall Smith's books are more about the relationships of the characters; Stanley focuses more on the mystery itself. Still, the background of Botswana and its people permeates both series and is as much a character as any of the humans. I will definitely look for the first two books in this series and look forward to more adventures with Detective Kubu.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A park ranger in the Kalahari region of Botswana dies from a head wound. When evidence points to murder, the police arrest the only people known to be in the area at the time of his death ¿ three Bushmen. Are they guilty, or have they been framed? Is the local detective assigned to the case blind to evidence that points to anyone else because of his prejudice against the Bushmen? Detective ¿Kubu¿ Bengu hopes not, but fears that this might be the case. He persuades his supervisor that it would be a good PR move to send him to the murder site to see if evidence would support other interpretations of the crime. Kubu's business trip causes problems at home, as his wife is still adjusting to the care of the couple's first child, 3-month-old Tumi.While the issue of racism/ethnic tension is familiar, the setting is different. In order to solve the crime, the investigators must learn about the culture of the Bushmen, and the pressure on that culture to adapt to laws and governance of the majority culture in Botswana. Are these pressures intense enough to drive one or more of the Bushmen to murder?I liked the characters and the setting. Kubu and his colleagues come across as skilled officers, with the same sorts of interpersonal conflicts and bureaucratic red tape that seem to exist in any fairly large workplace. Kubu is a sympathetic protagonist, with his love for his wife and daughter, his loyalty to his friends, his enjoyment of good food and wine, and his love for opera. I've developed a favorable impression of Botswana through Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and this book has reinforced that impression. It's a country I think I'd enjoy visiting someday. I doubt I'll ever make it that far, but at least now I have another series of books that will take me on a virtual journey.This review is based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
xmaystarx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received Death of the Mantis from the Early Reviewer program. This was my first time reading anything by the duo Michael Stanley. I will definitely look for the previous 2 books in the Detective Kubu series after this first experience. I'm not a huge mystery reader, maybe 5 or so a year, so when I do read them they need to be good. With that said, I'm not even completely sure it was the mystery that made me enjoy this book so much or the writing, sense of place - taking place in Botswana, or the likable characters. I had a feeling I knew what was going on in the beginning of the book but actually ended up being completely wrong. The ride along this mystery kept me captivated and wanting more. The story focuses on several murders in the national park area of Botswana, an area populated by the native people - bushmen. Detective Kubu must figure out the connection between the victims and witnesses with the help of his bushman friend from his school days, Khumengo, and law enforcement officials from other locations. Mystery lover or just a lover of fiction set in Africa, you will likely be entertained by this novel.
mysterymax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Death of the Mantis by Michael StanleyMichael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Together they have created the wonderful character of Botswana CID Detective David Bengu, known by all as ¿Kubu¿ which is the Setswana word for hippopotamus. The hippo is large, appears calm and docile but is in reality quite dangerous. Kubu is also large and he is also quite deceptive. For his calm, unassuming manner hides a mind that is quick. And, like the hippo he is resolute in purpose.This is the third novel to feature Kubu. If it is possible, each book is better than the last. I say, ¿If it is possible¿ because they are all close to perfect. They bring to life the amazing country of Botswana and all its varied people; the whites, the Africans, the Afrikaners and the Bushmen.It is the Bushmen that Kubu is concerned with in this novel. A park ranger is found dying in a ravine, in the Kalahari, by a co-worker looking for him. Three Bushmen surround the dying man; one of them appears to be trying to give the man water. The Detective Sergeant sent to investigate is convinced the Bushmen must be involved in the murder. The CID Director dispatches Kubu to watch over the case in order to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Kubu needs all of his wits and his strength, both physical and mental, to survive and solve the case following two more deaths.Death of the Mantis is immensely satisfying. The mystery, itself, is well-constructed. The characters are deeply developed and very real. Botswana is large. It would cover Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio and a good part of Indiana. So there is lots of room for more than one detective and the Michael Stanley team does a gracious salute to Botswana¿s other famous detective when Kubu is considering resigning after his experience and his superior says to him, ¿Drink to whatever you are going to be in the future. Security guard? Private eye? The Number One Man¿s Detective Agency?¿
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three Bushmen who were in the area are arrested for the murder of a ranger. A bushman and close friend of Detective Kubu Bengu tells him that he believes the detective in charge of the case is guilty of racial profiling and is overlooking possibilities that might involve a white man. As other deaths occur, the police step up their efforts to find the person or persons responsible. This book started out slowly for me, but it picked up as the story progressed and tensions mounted. The novel contains excellent plotting and interesting characters. I'm not sure that novels with African settings will ever be among my favorites, but I did make it through this one, and I abandoned the first of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels that so many readers enjoy. I received an Advance Readers Copy through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written.
KingRat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip form the writing team of Michael Stanley. They are native South Africans and are writing crime fiction series set in Botswana. Unlike the more famous one set in Botswana, the Detective Kubu series are police procedurals rather than cozies. LibraryThing¿s EarlyReviewers had copies, so I grabbed one.Detective Kubu¿s real name is David Bengu, but due to his size has received the Kubu nickname. That¿s a Botswanan word for hippopotamus, though I don¿t recall if the authors ever said which language the word comes from. This is the third book in the series, though he doesn¿t make an immediate appearance. The murder happens at the edge of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, when a disliked park ranger disappears and is found by a co-worker with his skull bashed in.The local detective Lerako seems determined to pin the murder on a trio of local bushmen who were found with the body. The director of Botswana¿s investigative division sends Kubu in to make sure Lerako conducts the probe properly. He doesn¿t want the police to receive criticism over shoddy work after a previous botched investigation involving bushmen. There¿s little in the way of evidence against the bushmen found with the body, so Kubu secures their release but Lerako continues to favor them as the murderers.Other related crimes and deaths follow, with Lerako continuing to push explanations that involve bushmen as culprits. But the evidence continues to be mixed. One of the victims resides in neighboring Namibia. He comes across a body in the desert after which he¿s shot at but escapes unharmed. He exhibits suspicious behavior that Lerako ignores. Kubu must work overtime (literally, his wife gets quite upset with his extended hours) to corral Larako and as the book goes on assumes more and more of the investigative duties.I did not enjoy this book for three basic reasons. First, I don¿t know a whole lot about the Botswana Police Service, but I can¿t buy into a police department as unprofessional as the one portrayed here. I get that they may not have the skills, procedure and technology of a first world police. But a professionalism fitted to the Botswana culture has to be there. Lerako pretty much refuses to do any investigation whatsoever except toward convicting his preferred suspects. It feels like this is done to create conflict that isn¿t natural. The authors manage to make the national park ranger staff a professional outfit that doesn¿t happen with the police.The second reason is the bad guy. He¿s a cliché without subtlety. When the reader find him out, he¿s pure B-movie material.And lastly, there¿s no emotional depth to any of the characters, despite a valiant effort by the authors. A significant portion of the ink expounds on the personal relationship between Kubu, his wife, her sister, and his parents. And yet, and yet, again I felt like I was watching people read their lines flatly and go through the motions as if acting like a real family. The words are on the page but the authors are obviously far more at home when writing about the desert, murder weapons, or the actions of men with something to hide.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like all three but this one may be the best. I'm wating on #4.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of the first two Michael Stanley books and was very much looking forward to their next entry. The background theme for this book was the plight of the bushmen in South Africa. That is fine, but the book just started out as too overtly preachy. Once the moral lessons were over and the book settled into just letting the mystery carry the story, the book compares favorably with the first two Michael Stanley entries.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
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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Ryan_G More than 1 year ago
I'm still not sure how I'm getting myself into these situations, actually I do know the reason. It's simple actually. I don't due my research before I agree to review a book, at least I don't do it well enough. How else do you explain my penchant for reviewing books that are actually somewhere in the middle of series. It is simply that I'm a mystery junkie who takes any opportunity he can to read a good one? Do I enjoy reading said book and liking it so much that I feel compelled to go back and read the rest of the series? I think I would have to answer yes to both questions. I'm just happy to say that this book fell right in with the pattern. From cover to cover, this was a well crafted mystery novel that kept me engaged the entire time. No matter how well a mystery is mapped out, how carefully it's constructed, if it doesn't have an enjoyable detective there is no reason to read it. If the detective is cookie cutter boring, who cares about the what they are doing. A detective needs to be different enough to stand out in a sea of mystery novels, but not so off putting you want the bad guy to win. Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is a detective that I really think Hercule Poirot would have enjoyed working with, though he would never admit it. Kubu, so nicknamed as a child for his size (think hippopotamus,) is one of the most enjoyable "new" detectives that I've come across in a long time. He seems to have such a wonderfully developed sense of self, without being egotistical (Hercule Poirot) about it. He knows his limitations, but he trusts his own judgements and follows through with them. He is dedicated to his family and his job, and though there are tensions between the two, he seems to have found that perfect balance. It's rare for me to really love a detective that wasn't dreamed up by one of yesteryear's mystery mavens. So when it happens, I want to dive into every book they are in. I'll now be going back and reading the books I've missed, and I'll be looking forward to the new ones as they come out.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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