Friday, August 21, 2009
A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley
Michael Stanley is actually two authors. It must be a wonderful experience--wonderfully difficult, wonderfully rewarding--to work so closely with someone as on a work of fiction. A Carrion Death is the first of their attempts and they succeed, if not unequivocably.
The mysteries are set in Botswana, and I am infinitely grateful that listening to Lisette Lecat read Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series has allowed the unusual city names to roll off my tongue like a native. Molepolole, Mochudi, Gabarone seem familiar to me now, but I'm glad the authors included the map in the front of the book.
I adore mystery series where the deaths are not gruesome and the investigators are civilized. A little bit of moral ambiguity, a few philosophical dilemmas, a human fraility or two, and voila! I am entranced. But I did feel a formula at work here. It felt workmanlike. I look forward to the second in the series to see if the authors managed to set themselves free.
The Mochudi Radio interview done with the main character of A Carrion Death, Assistant Superintendant David "Kubu" Bengu, however, tells us what they think of Michael Stanley in Botswana, my faint criticisms aside. Detective Kubu