A Death in the Family
By Michael Stanley
Published by Orenda Books (15 July 2016)
Faced with the violent death of his own father, even Assistant Superintendent David 'Kubu' Bengu, Botswana's keenest mind, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? Set amidst the dark beauty of modern Botswana, A Death in the Family is a thrilling insight into a world of riots, corruption and greed, as a complex series of murders present the opera-loving, wine connoisseur detective with his most challenging case yet.
More sunshine noir from the Michael Stanley duo. Yet again, this book combines an intriguing murder mystery with the stunning yet dark setting of Botswana. Although A Death in the Family is the fifth Detective Kubu book, it could easily be read as a standalone.
A Death in the Family is certainly a modern detective novel, with its in-depth insight into Botswana corruption, greed and technology. Yet it's also timeless, with the older generation clinging to their traditions and fierce national pride. The Michael Stanley duo write vividly and poetically. Botswana is portrayed in all its glory, with its sights, sounds and aromas, creating a stunning setting.
This time Kubu is investigating (although only unofficially) a crime that's very close to his heart when his beloved father is found murdered. Normally a gentle giant, Kubu struggles to keep his emotions, frustrations and anger in check, especially as he is being kept in the dark about the ongoing investigations.
To ensure he stays out of the way, Kubu is sent to investigate the death of a government official and riots in a local mining town. He gradually uncovers a tangled web of corruption in high places, linked to a local mining project, Chinese businessmen and the US embassy. Yet he still can't keep away from the investigation into his father's death.
A Death in the Family is as much about Kubu's anger, grief and love for his family as it is about the crimes and investigations. Unlike many other fictional detectives, Kubu comes from a loving stable family, one that I, as a reader, feel very much part of. The rest of the characters are also well developed and realistic, bringing the entertaining yet emotional plot to life.
I love these Detective Kubu novels. They're compelling and warming - an intelligent combination of crime and thriller covering serious and fascinating issues. Ideal for fans of Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 Ladies' Detective agency and the Death in Paradise TV series (& books).
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.