Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.
In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it's not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.
When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn't interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won't be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and coloured residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined.
The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, A Beautiful Place to Die marks the debut of a talented writer who reads like a brilliant combination of Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. It is a tale of murder, passion, corruption, and the corrosive double standard that defined an apartheid nation. I
Set in South Africa in 1952, Australian filmmaker Nunn's stellar debut explores a divided society through the frame of a classic murder mystery. When Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper, Nunns tortured sleuth, investigates white suspects in the fatal shooting of Afrikaner police captain Willem Pretorius, he immediately encounters resistance from the victims family. Before long, brutal investigators from the Security Branch offer a politically expedient solution. Cooper must fend off their threats as he pursues a link between the murder and an open Peeping Tom case that Pretorius had been probing. The detective finds no shortage of people who might have had a motive for killing the captain. Fans of Charles Todds Inspector Rutledge series (A Matter of Justice, etc.) will note some parallels, in particular Coopers� being haunted by the spirit of his old sergeant-major. Smooth prose and a deft plot make this novel a welcome addition to crime fiction set in South Africa. (Jan.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . The perfect mystery novel
Posted June 01, 2010 by Rebecca , CalgaryEngaging plot, compelling characters, a sense of place, a completely believable mystery, complex context where the mystery is a way of tackling broader and disturbing themes. It is a very good book masquereding as a mystery.
January 05, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.