A Carrion Death
Harper, Apr 2008, $23.95
Near a waterhole in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana, game rangers Andries and Bongani find the partial human remains; as the best cleaners of a crime scene, hyenas were not quite finished devouring the corpse. The rangers collected enough evidence to make the case that a homicide not a tragic accident occurred.
Botswana Criminal Investigation Department Assistant Superintendent David "Kubu" Bengu leads the investigation. As Kubu follows clues partially concealed by local superstition and more so by powerful killers with high level contacts intent on hiding the crime and much more, he mimics the "hippopotamus" that he is nicknamed for as he calmly but resolutely makes inquiries. With Mozart and other classical greats to entertain him as he drives the dusty roads, Kubu risks his life from those who will kill anyone including a persistent detective’s loved ones to keep the truth from surfacing.
The police procedural story line is superb with a strong obstinate hero; however the tale belongs to the insightful look at Botswana, a landlocked South African presidential representative democratic republic. The action-packed story line brings to life the people and cultures of a country struggling to avoid the problems besetting many of their neighbors to include tribal rivalries, government corruption, and avaricious poachers and smugglers ripping off the natural resources. The author team Michael Stanley provides the excellent debut of a police detective and readers will clamor for more investigations by this lover of the Magic Flute.