Monday, August 9, 2010
THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU by Michael Stanley
Goodluck Tinubu is a good man caught in an awful world. His story starts in the Rhodesian civil war and then spirals out of control from there.
Botswanan policeman David Bengu investigates Tinubu's "second death," obviously murder, twenty-three years later.
Bengu is a fascinating character. He is nicknamed Hippo (Kubu) because he is overweight. He is intelligent and tenacious, threading his way through three separate, but intertwining, crimes.
Tenubu's murder leads to other murders. All those crimes together come to involve history, drug running, and present-day politics. The whole story is filled with a sense of the history and the beauty of Africa and especially of Botswana.
Detective Kubu and his team investigate along with detectives and officials from surrounding countries. Kubu puts his wife Joy and her family in jeopardy because of his mistakes in the investigation.
One of the strongest parts of this book is in the loving relationship between Kubu and his wife Joy. Not only are they truly in love, but also they are both strong, intelligent and independent people. Joy is a great character in her own right.
In one regard, I see Michael Stanley (a pen name for two authors) as the Agatha Christie of Africa. Stanley's solution to the murder reminded me of one Christie would devise.
Of course, the Bengu story is a police procedural, and it is different than Christie's stories in other ways, but in regard to complex plotting and unusual solutions, Stanley and Christie are cut from the same cloth.
When I was a minister, I read detective novels to get away, to work off stress. This was the kind of book I enjoyed reading most of all.
Like the first book (A Carrion Death), The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu was a bit too long for my taste, but that is what gives it its quality as a leisurely read.
I will keep coming back to Michael Stanley's writing.