Dying to Live (Detective Kubu) Paperback – 12 July 2017
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'There is a lot of muti to chew literally - as you will discover - but the plot, woven into the harsh desert backdrop, is as unrelenting and dangerous as the arena in which the investigation twists it's way.' --The Cape Town Argus
'A wonderful, original voice - McCall Smith with a dark edge and even darker underbelly.' --Peter James
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Top reviews from United Kingdom
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Michael Stanley is in fact two people, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, who met completely by accident in Wisconsin, and realised over about half an hout that this was the brother they always knew they had,but had never yet met. Six months later they were on safari together in Botswana and were watching a hyena demolishing a wildebeeste, bones and all, and thought that that would be a brilliant way of totally disposing of a body, and they muttered something about writing a book. Six weeks later, back at work, Stan Trollip received an e-mail of the first chapter of a book. The e-conversation went something like this. Stan That's very interesting. What happens next? Michael; Whatever you want to happen, your turn...
Well that was the first book in the series, and was very well received. which has led to a sequence of books of which DYING TO LIVE is the seventh.
I would reccommend reading them in order, as they do follow Kubu's life in sequence, and there are interesting new members of the force, and in Kubu's circle, introduced in each book.
Do not worry about having to read seven books in a row, there isnt a duff one among them.
Imagine Precious Ramotswe of the No1 Ladies' Detective Agency, with added plot, tension and excitement.
The author Michael Stanley (South African born writing duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) have created yet another fantastic and entertaining thriller featuring one of crime fiction's most endearing and humane heroes.
When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he's clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What's more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles... but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective 'Kubu' Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who'd befriended the old Bushman?
The author always writes with such creative description and atmospheric detail that you quite literally feel you're in South Africa in the sweltering heat, dusty air and fabulous landscape. I have been following this series since nigh on the first book and have loved every single one. All of the books feature either an environmental/geographical or human interest issue and in "Dying to Live" biopiracy is tackled (exploitation of a country's endemic plants and the protection of traditional knowledge of their properties) and the use of 'muti' by witch doctors and traditional healers. Has the secret to everlasting life been discovered and who will get their hands on the secret plant first?
Assistant Superintendent David Bengu, affectionately known as Kubu - which translates to hippo for his size and tenacity - loves his good food and fine wine. He is devoted to his family, wife Joy, children Tumi and Nono and after the last story followed Kubu and his distressing loss of his beloved father, we now focus on his adopted daughter Nono and her HIV diagnosis.
I do hope to see Kubu again in the future, he's a fabulous character you can't help endear to and his dedication to solving crimes usually by his own tenacious means, makes him such an entertaining and enjoyable read who easily becomes addictive and unputdownable.
Another super five stars for a compelling and captivating outing in the Kubu series.
When a Bushman is found dead outside the Kalahari Game Reserve his death appears to be an accident. The autopsy on his body, however, reveals some unusual findings – while he is outwardly old his internal organs are those of a much younger man. When his body is stolen from the morgue and a Witch Doctor is reported missing it quickly becomes apparent that there is more to this than meets the eye. Detective Kubu and his colleague Detective Kahma find themselves embroiled in a case of murder, smuggling and, ultimately, greed.
I adored the characters in Dying to Live. Detective Kubu is instantly loveable – a big bear of a man who clearly thinks the world of his family, loves his food and uses nana naps to help him think through his cases. Stanley brings him completely to life through the pages of the book and you are left with a real sense of affection for him. He is definitely a character I want to meet again in the rest of the books.
The setting in Dying to Live uplifted me – which is probably a bit strange for a crime novel that involves murder and corruption – with the sunshine and the African setting bringing light into what is otherwise a book touching on dark issues. The setting also ensures that when reading this book from a UK perspective it is highly unlikely that you will have read anything else quite like it. The cultural aspects of the book are one of the things I enjoyed the most. The Witch Doctors, Muti and storyline involving Kubu’s adopted daughter give Dying to Live a uniqueness, making it a thrilling crime novel that completely transports you to a different world while making you think of subjects you probably haven’t considered before. The juxtaposition between the modern and traditional aspects of life in Botswana are wonderfully portrayed in Dying to Live.
As the plot unfolds the reader is left wondering how the threads all fit together. Dying to Live reminded of the classic crime novels in both its pace and construction. It took me down routes I wasn’t expecting to go while throwing red herrings onto my path along the way. A thoroughly enjoyable read, Detective Kubu definitely has a new fan!
Top reviews from other countries
Wenn man Kubu's Fälle, die Romane der Autoren schätzt, liebt, dann schon.
Der Roman bleibt eine klare Leseempfehlung, aber es reicht, das dritte Leider, nicht zum fünften Stern.
Kubu's Gemeinde hofft, das der nächste Roman alte Stärke zeigt-
The lively cast of characters includes witch doctors, Bushmen, Chinese thugs, and elusive professors. At the heart of the plot is a rare plant in the Kalahari dessert rumored to prolong life. The first murder victim is an extraordinarily long-lived, peripatetic Bushman.
There are strong supporting characters — a feminist go-getter detective who’s invaluable to Kubu, a Bushman cop with lots of initiative despite his remote posting, and a Scots pathologist with an eye for oddities on the autopsy table.
The setting is fun. The exotic pulse of Africa can always be felt. Baboons periodically invade the police parking lot looking for food. An ostrich dashes by a highway...
The investigation gets very complex, with a host of bad guys and potential bad guys. Lots of details. Lots of smoke screens. The detecting is mostly cerebral, the action all off stage. Kubu’s family life enlivens the plot, and ties in rather neatly with the case.
All in all, this is an excellent addition to a delightful series.
I greatly enjoyed this novel from a number of standpoints. On a personal level, it took me back to a part of the world where, early in my career, I spend a month in the Kalahari desert as part of a roving medical clinic treating bushmen.
The main character, Detective Kubu is a likable, very human assistant superintendent in the Botswana Criminal Investigation unit. The central plot involves his methodical investigation of the murder of a bushman which is soon linked to the disappearances of an American anthropologist and a well-known local witch doctor. Police work in Botswana is a fascinating blend of old skills (bushman interpretation of tracks in the desert) and new technology (GPS localization, DNA-based identification). The side story of the Kubu family and the troubles they experience with an adopted child with HIV, is meshed well with the main plot.
The authenticity of the novel is enhanced by the incorporation of language and customs of Botswana. A glossary provides ample explanation of the terms
It was refreshing to read a whodunit detective novel devoid of four letter expletives, unnecessary violence and gratuitous sex. All the violence and criminal acts occur offstage.
This book is part of the series but is easily read as a stand – alone. I highly recommend it!