Monday, October 1, 2012
Death of the Mantis by Michael Stanley
This is the best of the Stanley mysteries I have read: they just keep getting better.
Set in a Botswana that we have become familiar with through the Alexander McCall-Smith series THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY, this mystery has the same gentle feel of McCall-Smith’s. The big, lumbering detective Kubu is not a hardnose, but he gets the job done with compassion and consideration, though he nearly bites the biscuit himself in this installation.
The Kalahari landscape is desert and brutally hot--the territory belongs to the Bushmen traditionally. The Bushmen are as exploited and pushed-around as they are admired and feared. They have a central place in this mystery for their tracking skills, survival skills, and talent with poison arrows.
A man is found murdered in the desert. Some shoe-prints are found nearby. No one can think of a motive. The nearby camp of Bushmen is therefore suspected. Bushmen don't like trepassers on their traditional land. (In this they sound remarkably like the Australian Aborigine of old. We know how that turned out.)
Kudos, the Michael Stanley detective team and HarperCollins for getting the formula right for books that will attract a readership and keep the forces of evil at bay!
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