August 31

A Death In The Family – Michael Stanley

A Death In The Family‘There’s no easy way to say this, Kubu. Your father’s dead. I’m afraid he’s been murdered.’

Faced with the violent death of his own father, even Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu, Botswana CID’s keenest mind, is baffled. Who would kill such a frail old man? The picture becomes even murkier with the apparent suicide of a government official. Are Chinese mine-owners involved? And what role does the US Embassy have to play?
Set amidst the dark beauty of modern Botswana, A Death in the Family is a thrilling insight into a world of riots, corruption and greed, as a complex series of murders presents the opera-loving, wine connoisseur detective with his most challenging case yet. When grief-stricken Kubu defies orders and sets out on the killers’ trail, startling and chilling links emerge, spanning the globe and setting a sequence of shocking events in motion. Will Kubu catch the killers in time … and find justice for his father?


My thanks to Karen at Orenda Books for my review copy

The title and the opening line of the summary (as above) should make it quite obvious that A Death In The Family is not going to be an easy book for ‘Kubu’ Bengu to get through. I first encountered the Michael Stanley ‘Kubu’ books earlier this year when I read the marvellous Deadly Harvest.  You can read my review of Deadly Harvest here but I was totally hooked on the story of the “sturdy” good-natured Kubu hunting down a murderous Witch Doctor.

Now Kubu is back and he finds himself sidelined as all his colleagues are hunting a murderer. The victim is Kubu’s own father and, for obvious reasons, Kubu cannot be involved in the investigation.  Gone is the placid, sensible good-natured Kubu I remembered from Deadly Harvest, here we have a man battling grief and frustration who is determined to do whatever it takes to find a killer – even if it means conducting his own investigations away from the watchful eyes of his colleagues.

Unfortunately for Kubu he cannot keep his questioning a secret from his colleagues for long and a series of reprimands are coming his way. This only serves to frustrate our hero and we share his anguish over any apparent lack of progress in the investigation.  Full credit to the authors at this stage, I fully shared Kubu’s frustrations and I also felt myself irritated that he was not able to help find his father’s killer.

Despite the grief there are still many light moments to enjoy, a particular highlight is when Kubu is “punished” for over-stepping his imposed restrictions and is sent out of Botswana to present a paper at a very important conference. I am deliberately being vague to avoid spoilers, however, “tourist Kubu” was an absolute treat.

Keeping Kubu busy is a key element to A Death In The Family. He is assigned to investigate the fallout of a riot at a public meeting which took place in a remote Botswana town.  The locals were split over whether to allow their town to be relocated so that a multinational mining firm could dig for uranium deposits. Kubu’s investigations become very political and he will have to be at his brilliant best to get to the truth behind the riots and uncover the shady characters that are playing God with the lives of the townspeople.

Michael Stanley books are written with a delightful and charming style yet they deliver serious and powerful messages too. Domestic violence, corruption, murder and fraud on an international scale…there are a lot of nasty goings on in A Death In The Family. The story moves along at a nice pace, it is extremely accessible and readable (no requirement to have read any of the previous books) and Kubu remains great fun to read about. This was an absolute treat to read and I was sorry when I reached the end – more Kubu can only be a good thing I feel.


A Death in the Family is published in the UK by Orenda Books and is available in paperback and digital format. You can order your copy through this handy link:

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Posted August 31, 2016 by Gordon in category "Blog Tours