A CARRION DEATH is the first in a series of three books by Michael Stanley, the pen name of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. A CARRION DEATH introduces Assistant Superintendent David Bengu of the Botswana police. I reviewed this book on June 30, 2010, the sixth book to be reviewed on Murder by Type. Regrettably, I did not do it justice. It is a much better book than my review indicates.
In September, the third book in the series, DEATH OF THE MANTIS, will be published and I hope to do a far better job on this book as well as the second, THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU.
A CARRION DEATH is a big story, filled with interesting characters, more than a few mysteries, and immersion for the reader into the country and culture of Botswana. It also gives us Assistant Superintendent David Bengu, known to all as Kubu, hippopotamus. Kubu is one of the best characters in fiction. He loves his wife, his country and its culture, wine, his job, his dog, and opera. He is a 21st century man, dealing with 21st century crimes that are the result of motives as old as mankind.
The story opens with the discovery of the partially eaten body of a white man by Kalahari game wardens. The condition of the body suggests that it has not only been attacked by animals acting according to their nature but also by humans acting against their’s. Missing teeth and severed limbs are the work of those who want to prevent this man from being identified.
As the story progresses so does the body count. People are missing and questions arise about identities. What was thought to be a murder might not be and what was determined to be an accident in nature was probably not. And at the end of it all is a villain motivated by at least four of the seven deadly sins: pride, anger, greed, and jealousy.
Michael Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) have written a saga. It is a mystery and a cultural education. The characters are people we want to meet again.
This is not the Botswana of the lady detective.