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In the southern Kalahari area of Botswana—an arid landscape of legends that speak of lost cities, hidden wealth, and ancient gods—a fractious ranger named Monzo is found dying from a severe head wound in a dry ravine. Three Bushmen surround the doomed man, but are they his killers or there to help? Detective David “Kubu” Bengu is on the case, an investigation that his old school friend Khumanego claims is motivated by racist antagonism on the part of the local police. But when a second bizarre murder, and then a third, seem to point also to the nomadic tribe, the intrepid Kubu must journey into the depths of the Kalahari to uncover the truth. What he discovers there will test all his powers of detection . . . and his ability to remain alive.
Alexander McCall Smith fans interested in a different take on modern-day Botswana will find it in the intriguing third mystery from the team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, who write under the Stanley pseudonym (after 2009's The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu). Khumanego, a Bushman, asks his police detective friend, David "Kubu" Bengu, to intervene to prevent an injustice. Three fellow Bushmen have been charged with the bludgeoning murder of game ranger Tawana Monzo, despite the absence of solid evidence against them. Much to Kubu's satisfaction, his discovery of traces of an unknown other at the crime scene leads to the release of the accused Bushmen from custody. But the gourmand sleuth, who's adjusting to new fatherhood, soon feels less satisfied after another man is beaten to death in a similar manner. The cultural conflict between the Bushmen and their fellow countrymen lends color.