Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot.
Michael specialised in image processing and remote sensing and taught at the University of the Witwatersrand.
On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery,, which introduced Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.
The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book,, won the Barry Award for Best Paperback Original mystery and was shortlisted for an Edgar award. was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.
They have also written a thriller,, following the investigative journalist, Crystal Nguyen, who gets caught up in the war against rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling.
This was a highly enjoyable book, with a complex, clever heist at the heart of it, as well as a case of suitcase theft to tackle.
Detective Kubu is an engaging and intelligent protagonist, his quick mind able to draw links between things that others haven’t even spotted yet.
Many people may be familiar with the Botswana of the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but this is more realistic and less cosy than that series. These are real crimes being carried out by dangerous men happy to play on people’s fears and superstitions.
It’s also interesting to see the country through the characters’ eyes, the slow modernisation, of new technology that we in the West take for granted – mobile phones, even something as basic as people having landlines in their homes. Yet they have forensics and pathologists, just like elsewhere and don’t see the slow creep of technology as a problem, finding ways to work around the remoteness of some of the locations.
I liked the way the authors used language, blending English with native words, much as the people do, it added authenticity and I could understand them from context pretty much every time.
I haven’t read any of the other Kubu books but I want to, if they’re as smart and engaging as this.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.