Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Beautiful Place to Die

A Beautiful Place to Die
by Malla Nunn

The year is 1952. Apartheid is the backdrop for this well-drawn book set in Jacob's Rest, a small, dusty South African border town. The whites, mixed races and black citizens struggle to find their places in the complex social structure of the country. Detective-Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is sent to Jacob's Rest to investigate the shooting death of police Captain William Pretorious. Soon, brutal investigators from the Security Branch of the national police take over the investigation. They believe that Pretorious' murder is the result of a communist plot. Cooper is relegated to investigating a six-month old Peeping Tom case. Emmanuel Cooper soon finds ties between the Captain's murder and the Peeping Tom that lead him down a rocky path that is strewn with boulders of racial prejudice. Nunn paints word pictures so realistic that I could almost taste the dust rising up from the unpaved streets. In my mind's eye I could see the wide expanse of the grassy veldt as it stretched from the town toward the shimmering river and the border with Mozambique. [If you like this, you may also enjoy: Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey and Dead Before Dying by Deon Meyer.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[ official A Beautiful Place to Die page on the official Malla Nunn page at ]

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