A(nother) Year of Orenda – A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley

Today it’s back to Mandie who continues her Detective Kubu. journey with a review of A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley, the second book published by Orenda. This is another fab read and you can see my thoughts on the book right here. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Onwed Copy
Release Date: 15 July 2016
Publisher: Orenda Books

About the Book

There’s no easy way to say this, Kubu. Your father’s dead. I’m afraid he’s been murdered.’

Faced with the violent death of his own father, even Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu, Botswana CID’s keenest mind, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? The picture becomes even murkier with the apparent suicide of a government official. Are Chinese mine-owners involved? And what role does the US Embassy have to play?

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. When grief-stricken Kubu defies orders and sets out on the killers’ trail, startling and chilling links emerge, spanning the globe and setting a sequence of shocking events in motion. Will Kubu catch the killers in time … and find justice for his father?

Mandie’s Thoughts

Detective Kubu is back but this time the investigations take a personal turn as the book opens with a phone call to tell him that his father has been murdered. His natural instinct is that he is the only person that can investigate what happened and find out the truth despite the fact that he is told to stay as far away from the case as possible so that there can be no claims of a miscarriage of justice. His grief is what is truly driving him and although he thinks that Sam is too young and inexperienced to get to the bottom of it, deep down he does know that what he is being told really is what is best for the case. It is not long before he is involved in other murders and attempted murders that will ultimately mean he is crossing the line on the investigations. The question is can they solve the investigations and bring the killer(s) to justice.

You can’t help but feel for Kubu. He has a great respect for his father, and he just feels so helpless. His family are suffering and at the same time pulling together but as much as he knows he should be with them; he believes that he is much better suited to working the case or at least being at the station so that he knows what is going on. It is just against his nature to sit back and watch others do all the work. As the deaths start to rise he does take some solace in the fact that he can get to work investigating the seemingly unrelated events. 

What I loved most about this book is that we not only got to learn more about the old ways of Botswana we saw more of Kubu away from his work and the really close dynamic of his family giving a true insight into how his values and beliefs formed some of his decisions made at work. We also got to see Sam slowly coming from under Kubu’s shadow and showing that she really was a good detective who was capable of running an investigation, although there was also the possibility that Kubu’s influence of not always doing what he was told and following procedure may have rubbed off on her just a little bit.

Although the death of Kubu’s father is the catalyst for this story it is so much more that that. The authors have shed light on corporate dishonesty and the fight between the old and the new ways of the villages within Botswana giving the reader a greater understanding of a truly colourful and interesting country. This series may be billed as a detective series which it is at its heart but it is also so much more making these books a fascinating and compelling read.

About the Author

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.

Books by the Authors

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