Title: A Beautiful Place To Die
Author: Malla Nunn
Review: If you love police procedurals get on this series right now! The author is only three books in and they are absolutely fantastic.
I love a great mystery, especially one that can educate me on a part of history I know nothing about beyond the basics. The hero of the books is English police detective Emmanuel Cooper, trying to balance the tensions of learning the truth to solve the case, and the racial policies of 1950’s apartheid South Africa. The white police captain has been found murdered in the small border town of Jacob’s Rest. Was it the black population, or smuggler’s from Mozambique, or the usual suspects of most crimes, greed and lust? In a community where power is king and racial tensions high, can Cooper navigate the all the factions and manage to stay afloat.
Nunn opens a world of restrictive laws and racist mindsets and presents a multi-layered crime equal to any in the genre. The atmosphere is almost the Wild West as he tries to get the truth while not risking upsetting the apple cart too much, because it would mean his death. And with each step closer to the truth what is revealed others would wish to remain hidden. They would pin it on some random undesirable than the perceived ugliness of what really happened be known; if only to protect the deceased and their own reputations.
An absorbing mystery from a tremendous series that anyone interested in the genre should not missed. And if you are looking for a great first step into the procedural novel I couldn’t recommend this series enough. As for me, this book also fulfills my three main goals when it comes to expanding my horizons (I analyzed my reading patterns a few years ago and found I read mainly American White Male authors). Malla Nunn and Emmanuel Cooper conquer all three of those problems while being fabulous too. A must read.
Quick Review: 4.5 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: I read book three, in the series, for a review and liked it so much I sought out the first two books. This is book one, in the series.
Where I Obtained the Book: Through my local inter-library loan.
Synopsis: Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed. In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it's not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.
Author Biography: Currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Her motto: We are people through other people.