Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Carrion Death

Monday, July 20, 2009

Michael Stanley's A Carrion Death was almost too much book for me. I could have used about 150 pages fewer, but the book was interesting nonetheless.

Botswana is a beautiful and varied country. Several plot twists are unique to Africa. And the cultural details, especially Bongani's experience with the witch doctor, make the book fascinating to read.

For me, the plot itself seemed rather ordinary. It begins with Kalahari rangers finding the bones of a murdered man.

His murderers have done everything they can to hide his identity. They knocked out all his teeth and left him naked. Then they left him in the wilderness where they hope the animals and insects will devour him. Hyenas eat even bones, so if you want someone to disappear, one way to do that is to leave him where the Hyenas and other wildlife have time to eat him.

This book tells a lot about Botswana. The plot winds through several levels of society. There are other murders.

If nothing else, Detective Kubu (the word means Hippopotamus) observes and perseveres. He is slow and decisive, words which could also be used to describe the style of writing in the book.

Michael Stanley is the pen name for the two authors--Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.

I found myself anticipating several of the surprises in the book, but not its final outcome. For me, the book was an above average, but not great, mystery cloaked in all kinds of interesting detail.

I plan to read the second book about Detective Kubu.

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