Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

A little girl goes missing in the city of Gaborone. And then other. Samantha Khama, the only female detective in the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department asks to be assigned to this cases, and starts digging. Khama believes the girls to have been kidnapped for muti, a form of dark magic practiced by some witch doctors. Khama enlists the help of Kubu Bengu, the Assistant Superintendent of the CID. Kubu is an experienced detective, who has a knack for catching things others miss. As the two of them start piecing together what happened to these girls, they realize that it is bigger than they initially suspected, involving Botswana political candidates and members of law enforcement.

This is the fourth Detective Kubu mystery in the series by Michael Stanley. Michael Stanley is actually Stanley Trollip and Micahel Sears, who were both born in Johannesburg, South Africa--about a five-hour drive from where this book is set. Sears lives lives in Johannesburg and Stanley splits time between there and Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the Acknowledgements and the Authors' Note, they indicate they talked with anthropologists who study muti, educators who work in Gaborone, and a former High Court judge of Botswana. The result is a story where the location is just as interesting and important to the narrative as the characters are.

The story is told from a third person omniscient perspective and jumps between a large number of characters. The mystery unfolds slowly throughout the course of the book, with the authors not revealing the identity of the witch doctor until the last few pages of the book. I'm not someone who is always claiming to have figured out the twist in the movie or the culprit in a mystery. That said, I had identified the witch doctor well before his identity was revealed. However, this didn't diminish my enjoyment of the denouement of the story.

I'm definitely going to read the other Detective Kubu mysteries.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoy the other books in the series just as much!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.