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A Deadly Trade by Michael Stanley
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Member:helenell
Title:A Deadly Trade
Authors:Michael Stanley
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Collections:Review book
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Africa, crime fiction, Botswana

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The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu by Michael Stanley

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
A Deadly Trade is the second title from the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip but my first to read. Essentially a police procedural, it is based in Botswana and features, as in the first book, the rather rotund food-loving Detective Kubu. The story centers around two murders committed in a tourist camp in northern Botswana close to the border with Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Local officer Tatwa Mooka calls on the help of the more experienced Kubu from the capital, Gaborone, but as the investigation proceeds the plot thickens. The fact that one of the recently murdered men has been dead for many years does not simplify matters. The book hints at Agatha Christie in fact, as each of the characters has his or her own secret, or so it seems, but it does too have action and, probably its strongest aspect, Botswana and the recent troubled history of the wider region at its centre. There are hints at drug-running, war crimes and political interference. The book in fact mixes the serious with the light, humour and light-heartedness being brought by Kubu, his demeanour, and his love of food and desire to consume biscuits at every opportunity. But he is too a strong and resolute officer, as his response to the threat to his family will testify. 'Kubu' in fact means 'Hippo' in Setswana, the language of Botswana.

I found it hard to warm to this book, however; it felt overly long, the story didn't flow, there was a certain tedium in terms of detail, events being dragged out and indeed re-visited and re-capped. I was always conscious of it being the work of two authors, and reading it, it read like such. To my mind it needed some editorial intervention. In saying that, I found it hard to find a reviewer on the web who felt as I did about it!

Botswana, if you are not already aware, is also the country in which the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, by Alexander McCall Smith, is based. If pressed as to which I preferred, McCall Smith would get my vote by some margin.

Beware: this book is sold in the USA under the title 'Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu'. ( )
  ebyrne41 | Jul 14, 2014 |
This is #2 in the Kubu series and I read it to fill in a gap in my reading.
What I have enjoyed about these books is not only the very clever and tight plotting, but the lovely character development of Detective “Kubu” Bengu, his immediate family, and those he works with. It seems to me also that the setting provides another strong character. The initial action is set in tourist camp, but the roots of the plot go back decades into the history of Zimbabwe.

The character of Bengu gives the authors plenty of scope to show policing in Botswana in a good light. It comes across as a rather different Botswana to that of Precious Ramotswe but the values are the same.

A good read. ( )
  smik | Jan 11, 2014 |
Detective Kubu Bengee based in Botswana. Likied very nmuch. ( )
  magentaflake | Sep 21, 2012 |
At one level this book reminds one a bit of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. It is set in Botswana and it presents a very sympathetic view of the country, savouring the delights of Africa and Africans rather than perpetuating the negative stereotypes which are found all too often. It's also a detective story with African protagonists, but here it parts company from its more demure ladies' counterpart. Violent death and political intrigue are at the heart of the story, but even so they are investigated with a simple goodness which one does not find in most detective thrillers. A thoroughly good read. ( )
  johnthefireman | Jul 28, 2012 |
My initial reaction was to be sceptical of “A Deadly Trade”, and it took its time to work its way to the head of the 'to-be-read' pile, but a combination of a well executed opening scene and an extremely accomplished sense of place managed to capture attention. For all the exasperation at some of the plot devices, it does engender a distinct curiousity about what's actually going to happen, and it passes the 'does it keep you up at night' test with flying colours. Great literature it probably isn't, but it's well worth a read.

For full review please see: http://southlondonbook.blogspot.com/2010/06/deadly-trade-michael-stanley.html
  isynge | Jun 2, 2010 |
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For Bill and Jean Trollip and Teda, Douglas, and Brunhilde Sears
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The farewells had been said many years ago, so Goodluck hugged his old comrade and left without a word. He zipped the tent door closed and started along the path to his own bush tent.
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Aiding local police in a double-homicide investigation involving the brutal killings of two foreign guests at a Botswana bush camp, detective David "Kubu" Bengu learns that a dissident wanted by the Zimbabwean government was involved and that one of the victims allegedly died decades earlier.… (more)

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