Michael Stanley is the name used by the writing team of native Africans comprising of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. The two good friends have enjoyed adventures together including fighting bush fires, hunting lions at night, surviving s charging elephant and also losing their navigation maps when flying in the Kalahari Desert. Sears is a resident of South Africa while Stanley possesses dual citizenship and divides his time between Minneapolis and South Africa. The two authors have won and also been nominated for various awards.
For instance, A Carrion Death was nominated for the best first novel during 2009 Barry Awards and Macavity Awards the same year in the same category. In 2012 their book The Death of the Mantis was nominated for Anthony Awards and won Barry Award in the same year. The authors are famously known for writing Detective Kubu series which began publication in 2008 when A Carrion Death the first novel in the series was published. The second book A Deadly Trade was issued in 2009. Swiss Conspiracy is their stand-alone book published in 1976.
A Carrion Death A Carrion Death is the first book in Detective Kubu series written by Michael Stanley. The book introduces the readers to Assistant Superintendent named David Bengu. He is described as young and big for his size. His friend Angus gave him the nickname Kubu which means a Hippo in Setswana. Kubu’s friend is a Botswana, and his father and uncle have for years operated the Botswana Cattle and Mining Company.
It is revealed that Angus and his twin sister are about to attain the age at which they can inherit their father’s property and take it over from their uncle, Cecil. In the meanwhile, a body is discovered in a wash in an adjacent borehole. It appears that the location was carefully chosen- since the waterhole is popular with wild animals and there are so many predators which should have fed off the remains before they were found. Unfortunately, for the perpetrators of this horrible act, a young scientist is carrying out his research in the area, and he and his team discover the body. Surprisingly there are some odds about this dead body- the victim is a white man, and there have been several cases of missing white people reported in the country. Furthermore, the body is missing an arm, possibly the killers needed to confuse the identification, but upon further investigations, there are different old breaks in the victims both legs, and this gives a lead to identifying the body.
Kubu does his investigations right from the wash to the nearby tourist resort and back to the capital of Gaborone. From the dust and the dirt’s of the Botswana desert and the diamonds mines to the boardrooms of prominent business, no stone will be left unturned. The first novel in Detective Kubu series has a great and real feel of the African culture for some good reasons. The main character Detective Kubu is someone is described in such a manner that you can visualize him. He is tall, largely unflappable who has a knack for investigation. The setting is accurately described; the author does not primarily rely on one scene for the entire narrative but instead ensures that the readers have a taste of the real situation in the African grounds.
You will get a glimpse of the African cities, get to explore the sandy deserts of Africa and delve yourself into the heart of diamond mines which for decades have been the cause of civil war in central African countries. The book doesn’t heavily rely on the investigation aspect only, but instead, you will also have a chance to meet Kubu’s parents, and also see how his relationship with his wife fairs along. If you have never been to Africa, this book will give a virtual reality of the real African way of life. There are plenty of messages about Africa, and the people are well crafted into the story. The plot is fast paced, complex as well and there is a much darker version of Botswana than that which is portrayed in Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. The suspect list is never ending, and several plot twists. The novel is divided into several parts, with the first four alternating in the time frame and later continuing in a more accurate chronological sequence.
The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu This is the second novel in Detective Kubu series by Michael Stanley. A young man is returning to his tent one late night at a rural resort located at the heart of Okavango Delta when he is brutally murdered and his body mutilated. The following morning a second body is found, and a third man is reported missing. The Botswana police are called to the crime scene as well as Detective Kubu and his newly found sidekick Detective Tatwa Mooka. One of those victims is a prominent teacher named Goodluck Tinubu, and it appears that he might have been a victim of revenge killing. Detective Kubu (meaning Hippo) and his sidekick Detective Tatwa (giraffe) have a complex puzzle to solve.
The second novel in the crime investigation series by the South African writing team is even richer than the debut book A Carrion Death. It is set in the landscape of the peaceful Botswana, but with some massive problems surfacing such as political and regional tensions with the neighboring country Zimbabwe, cross border drug trafficking, and prolonged periods of violent conflict across the borders. The core of the investigation is the rural Jackalberry tourist camp owned by two white former Rhodesians. Situated on a peninsula close to the borders with Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, it is accessible by wading through the swamps inhabited by crocs and hippos or via a boat.
The camp appears to be a home of heterogeneous visitors and staff, and many of them seem to have something to hide from Kubu and other detectives. For example, it is discovered that Tinubu was once killed in the Rhodesian civil war three decades ago. Kubu does his investigation at his own pace even though facing pressure from his superiors. However, when his family is threatened, Kubu losses his cool and reveals his hippo strength and yet maintains his investigative skills. If you are a fan of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, then you will find Detective Kubu series by Michael Stanley even more appealing and intriguing.
Books in order of publication by series:
Detective Kubu Books
|A Carrion Death||(2008)|
|A Deadly Trade aka The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu||(2009)|
|The Death of the Mantis||(2011)|
|A Death in the Family||(2015)|
|Dying to Live||(2017)|
Detective Kubu Collections
|Detective Kubu Investigates||(2013)|
|Dead of Night||(2018)|
Publication Order of Anthologies