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Updated: Jan 11, 2021

A Death in the Family (Detective Kubu #5)

This is the 5th novel in Michael Stanley’s Detective Kubu series set in Botswana, one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most promising nations. This time, tragedy strikes Asst. Superintendent David Kubu Bengu when his own father is murdered. What follows is a very frustrating time for Kubu as his irascible boss Mabaku bars him from any participation in the investigation because of Kubu’s obvious closeness to the victim. I certainly felt the frustration myself. On the one hand I understand Mabaku’s wanting to make it a clean break, but I felt he could have nuanced it somewhat. Of course, as anyone who reads Kubu knows, nuance is not Mabaku’s strong point.

Like the other Kubu novels, this one is multi-pronged and complex, involving Chinese miners, government officials and village chiefs, and the way it ties up the connections to the initial murder is something the Michael Stanley duo (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) does very well. Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, the story does include some hilarious scenes, in particular Kubu trying to fit his hulking body into a hotel bathroom.

Sears and Trollip tell the story with obvious affection for Botswana and have stimulated my interest in visiting that country (along with another promising African country, Rwanda.)

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