Review & Giveaway: A Death in the Family (A Detective Kubu Mystery) by Michael Stanley

Death in the Family CF AW.indd
About 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 to try to bring the killers to justice, 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 Review

The authors manage to combine a tragic murder with traditions and customs of Botswana creating an intriguing read. The setting isn’t described as much as I would have liked, however, the details of traditions and customs filled the deficit.

The reader senses the frustration and profound grief of law enforcement professional David ‘Kubu’ Bengu as his father is tragically murder and he is barred from participating in the murder investigation. Kubu balances personal and professional obligations as he wades through grief and shock. I loved the closeness he shared with his mother, he’s by her side as they both navigate sorrow. Exploring family life during tragedy gives the main protagonist dimensionality, he struggles with emotions while exhibiting strength, if you have suffered a loss you will find Kubu’s reaction and challenges realistic. His mettle is tested as he watches from the sidelines as his professional peers rally together in finding the killer, he stumbles and rises as he is rendered professionally helpless.

The plot gains momentum, twists appear towards the end along with blindspots. A few scenarios were more than obvious, however, the predator wasn’t revealed until many pieces fell into place creating a level of tight mystery. Interesting plot especially as the story unfolds, Kubu’s charm and warm personality serves as the cog of the story, he’s endearing and his loss is clearly felt. A few smooth moves from the police force boosts the story.

Fans of foreign mysteries with a robust main protagonist, sprinkled with comedic relief along side an affecting murder, you’ll want to venture into this fascinating series.

About Michael Stanley

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.

Both are retired professors who have worked in academia and business. Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing. Trollip is an educational psychologist, specializing in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and a pilot. They were both born in South Africa.

They have been on a number of flying safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe, where it was always exciting to buzz a dirt airstrip to shoo the elephants off. They have had many adventures on these trips including tracking lions at night, fighting bush fires on the Savuti plains in northern Botswana, being charged by an elephant, and having their plane’s door pop open over the Kalahari, scattering navigation maps over the desert.. These trips have fed their love both for the bush, and for Botswana.

It was on one of these trips that the idea surfaced for a novel set in Botswana.

A Carrion Death is their first novel.

Michael Searsmichael Sears - Small

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and grew up in Cape Town and Nairobi, Kenya. In the worst of the apartheid era, my family emigrated to Australia, where I studied mathematics. But Africa drew me back and I accepted a position at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where I specialized in applications of mathematics in a variety of areas including image analysis and ecological modeling. One of the more adventurous projects involved radio-tracking hunting lions through the Botswana night. Another was a system model for the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.

I have traveled widely in Southern and Central Africa. Botswana has always been a special favorite with its magnificent conservation areas, dramatic scenery, and varied peoples. A long-held ambition was to capture the flavor of the country as the canvass of a novel.

From 1997 until my retirement at the end of 2007, I managed remote sensing at Anglo American, a major international mining house. Its associate – the diamond giant De Beers – has extensive interests in Botswana through the Debswana joint venture with the government. The mining and exploration threads in the book draw on experiences in this context.

I enjoy research, project work, and writing most when I’m working with other people. I’ve worked with researchers in several countries on varied projects, managed teams in the academic and business arenas, and co-authored two novels. All these things can be, and generally are, done by oneself. But it’s a lonely business.

Although I still live in Johannesburg, my mind is often in the African bush, and the rest of me follows as often as possible. Stan and I share a bungalow in a private game reserve close enough for a long weekend. Birds are watched, wine is drunk, and plots develop.

My wife, Annette, and step-daughter, Jacky, have provided great encouragement. The family also includes two corgis, who, although intelligent, are not avid readers of crime fiction.

Stanley Trollip - SmallStanley Trollip

I was born in Johannesburg where I did all my schooling up to and including an undergraduate degree (in Statistics). My undergraduate time was checkered, taking twice as long as usual, mainly due to participation in a variety of sports (cricket, rugby, and field hockey) and involvement in the anti-apartheid movement. In 1970, I went to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where I received a PhD in Educational Psychology. For the most part, I was always a professor with an interest in how computers can facilitate teaching and learning. I’ve co-authored three editions of a widely used book, Multimedia for Learning: Methods and Development (Allyn and Bacon).

Before retiring in 2003, I was as Director of Learning Strategies at Capella University – which delivers courses entirely through the World Wide Web. When I joined, Capella had about 50 learners. When I left seven years later, it had over 8,000. Today it is about 18,000.

I hold a variety of pilot’s licenses and have a strong interest in aviation safety. I lecture frequently on the topic; have co-authored one book on the subject published by Jeppesen Sandersen (Human Factors for General Aviation). I am still an active small-plane pilot and am currently learning to paraglide.

Michael and I have been on a number of flying safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe. It is always exciting to buzz a dirt airstrip to shoo the elephants off. We have had many adventures on these trips including tracking lions at night, fighting bush fires on the Savuti plains in northern Botswana, being charged by an elephant, and having our plane’s door pop open over the Kalahari, scattering our navigation maps over the desert.. These have been wonderful times which have fed my love both for the bush, as well as for Botswana.

In my leisure, I golf, bike, and hike. On dark and stormy nights I play with my collection of stamps from German South West Africa/South West Africa/Namibia.


Enter to win a copy of A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley. Open internationally. Ends 1/28/16.

A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley, published October 28th 2015 by Orends Books


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