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Silent valley by Malla Nunn

Silent valley (edition 2012)

by Malla Nunn

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776156,384 (4.1)4
Title:Silent valley
Authors:Malla Nunn
Info:Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2012.
Collections:Your library
Tags:Emmanuel Cooper, South Africa, audio book, library

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Blessed Are the Dead: An Emmanuel Cooper Mystery by Malla Nunn



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I could only rate this a two star read as it was too slow for me liking. I like to read for fun, escapism, whatever and while this story may be an interesting read, listening to it was, at times, arduous. The story provided an interesting insight into the African apartheid system.

The best part of the book was the African character voices provided by Humphrey Bower.

At least I finished listening to this book, hence two stars. ( )
  DCarlin | Jan 22, 2016 |
Blessed are the Dead finds DS Emmanuel Cooper and DC Samuel Shabalala traveling to the tiny town of Roselet where the body of an young Zulu girl named Amahle Matebula has been found covered in wildflowers on a hillside in the Drakensberg Mountains, halfway between her father’s kraal and the Afrikaner farm where she worked as a maid. Her family, headed by a chieftain with five wives, demands the release of her body from the local medical office and the doctor refuses to have anything to do with an autopsy. This will be the impetus to bring in our third main character, Dr. Zweigman. This tiny team of three will again band together to find the murderer. There are few clues at the crime scene other than a tartan blanket, but Cooper and Shabalala start to ask questions and eventually discover more clues as well as multiple suspects.

The Emmanuel Cooper mystery series by Malla Nunn is my current “most favored” series. It takes place in post-WW2 apartheid South Africa and the setting is incredibly important in each of the mysteries. The author does an excellent job of weaving the structure of apartheid into the story showing us how our main characters deal with the strict rules that segregate South African's into a separate-and-unequal role. These characters are totally alive, believable and incredibly conflicted. The most current book, Present Darkness, has just been released and I plan to pick that up as soon as possible. Blessed are the Dead is not only a riveting mystery where clues and carefully laid twists and turns but also an atmospheric story with an incredible depth in setting, characterization and history.
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  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
An engaging mystery set in 1950s South Africa, where Emmanuel Cooper and his black constable sidekick are dispatched by their scheming Afrikaner boss to a murder scene far from Durban. A beautiful young zulu woman, the daughter of a local headman, has been murdered after leaving the home of the white landowners where she works. Though the crime was violent, her body is scattered with flower petals and a folded blanket has been placed under her head. This is an evocative and quite absorbing mystery in a really good series, only marred by the late intrusion of a character who seems to have wandered in from a Charles Todd story.
  bfister | Jun 9, 2015 |
This novel is set in South Africa in October 1953. It is a world still divided by apartheid, blacks are always treated as "kaffirs", and white supremacy is assumed.

With Emmanuel Cooper comes his Zulu constable Shabalala. Apartheid means he can't stay in the same hotels as Cooper, or dine at the same tables, but he can get the "real" story from the servants, and he understands local Zulu customs.

SILENT VALLEY is a very atmospheric novel. Malla Nunn is able to transport 21st century readers to a very different culture, and help us to see the crime with very different eyes.

Life is not easy for Emmanuel Cooper. He is descended from Boers and is still not accepted in police circles dominated by whites even though he has the patronage of Colonel van Niekerk who is also an Afrikaaner. van Niekerk will take the credit for Cooper's successes, but will quickly disown him when he fails.

If you've never read any of this series before I would suggest you start at the beginning, so you get the full story (although of course you can read SILENT VALLEY as a stand alone). But there are characters who were created in the first and second novels who are important in the third and so you will understand more if you read them in order. They are available for Kindle ( )
  smik | Oct 10, 2013 |
A complex story set in 1950s South Africa. This mystery is a police procedural about the murder investigation of a teenage Zulu girl. However, what it really portrays along the way is the society, customs, lifestyles and relationships that divide the peoples of apartheid South Africa. In contrast with the distressing attitudes that prevailed, the white police sergeant and his Zulu constable are a winning team. I look forward to more in this series. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Oct 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Nunn once again vividly recaptures 1950s South Africa in her gripping and thoughtful third mystery featuring Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper (after 2010’s Let the Dead Lie).
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"Emmanuel Cooper's life is finally back on track when a request comes from Colonel van Niekerk on the eve of his wedding and Cooper, with Shabalala, must report to the local police station in Balgowan, a small trading post in the Natal Midlands. There has been an anonymous phone tip claiming that "something bad" has happened on Little Flint Farm. Emmanuel knows that his boss would not send two city detectives into isolated farm country without good cause. Something has to be up. Cooper and Shabalala head into the Midlands where horse stables and cultivated fields dot the wide valleys. The Station Sergeant's books are clean, except for a minor matter: the disappearance of an adolescent Zulu girl from her family kraal in the wild foothills of the Drakensberg. Who is this she, this fifteen-year-old named "Amahle," the beautiful one? Where has she gone and why is the local Sergeant so reluctant to search for her? Fuelled by the instinctive knowledge that something "bad" really has happened out on Little Flint Farm, Cooper and Shabalala plunge into the class driven world of transplanted English aristocrats and the tradition bound world of the old Zulu chiefs. Together, Cooper and Shabalala must break the silence of the opposing communities and dig through buried secrets until they find out what happened to the girl, and why... no matter the cost"--… (more)

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