Writing duo Michael Sears, a Visiting Professor in the School of Computer Science and Stanley Trollip (BSc Statistics 1971) collaborate again as Michael Stanley to publish their third “Detective Kubu” mystery crime novel. Set in Botswana, Death of the Mantis (Headline, 2011) follows A Carrion Death (2008) and A Deadly Trade, which was a Los Angeles Times Top 10 Crime Novel for 2008.
Surrounded by a group of Bushmen, a ranger at a game reserve in the Kalahari is discovered at the bottom of a ravine. At first, it is assumed that he fell, but it turns out that he was attacked. Although they claim to have chanced upon the injured man, the Bushmen are arrested. Khumanego, Kubu’s Bushman school friend and now an advocate for the Bushman people, approaches Kubu and asks him to intervene. Khumanego claims the men are innocent and that their arrest is due to racist antagonism from the local police. Kubu investigates the case, resulting in the release of the suspects. But then another man is found murdered in a similar fashion – this time a visitor from neighbouring Namibia. The body is discovered by another touring Namibian – an odd coincidence in Kubu’s view – motivating him to follow the clues to Namibia. Then a third man is murdered and Kubu realises that the key to the mystery must lie in the depths of the Kalahari itself. And there it is unravelled in a most unpleasant way.