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Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery (Detective Kubu Series) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Stanley
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“DEATH OF THE MANTIS is the best book I’ve read in a very long time. A fantastic read. Brilliant!” (Louise Penny, New York Times bestselling author of Bury Your Dead)

“DEATH OF THE MANTIS is the best book yet in one of the best series going: a serious novel with a mystery at its core that takes us places we’ve never been, thrills and informs us, and leaves us changed by the experience. I loved this book.” (Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong and A Nail Through the Heart)

“Assistant Superintendent Kubu is back! A page-turner from start to finish. Michael Stanley’s enthralling series is a must-read for anyone who enjoys clever plotting, terrific writing, and a fascinating glimpse of today’s Africa. Kubu—DEATH OF THE MANTIS—Michael Stanley: the perfect mystery trifecta for any crime fan.” (Charles Todd, New York times bestselling author of A Matter of Justice)

“Impossible to put down, this immensely readable third entry. . . delivers the goods. Kubu’s painstaking detecting skills make him a sort of Hercule Poirot of the desert. . . . This series can be recommended to a wide gamut of readers.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Kubu’s third recorded case is again alive with local color and detail and, refreshingly, offers his fullest mystery plot yet.” (Kirkus Reviews)


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.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Der Schein trügt 28. Dezember 2012
Ein weiteres gutes Buch der Reihe (und wer mehr über afrikanische Pfeilgifte wissen will, kann auf die Webseite der Autoren gehen, dort gibt es interessante Links dazu) um Kubu und die Kalahari. Sehr detailliert, sehr vertrakt, und wenn man dann mal eine Idee vom Täter hat, dann löst sich alles logisch und konsequent auf. Die Autoren haben keine Angst, unpopuläre Entscheidungen zu treffen, auch wenn manchmal die Auflösung knapp zu einfach erscheint. Kritisch, politisch, sehr lesenswert, ich mag diesen Detektiv.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Südafrika aus Sicht der Schwarzafrikanischen Polizei 27. Dezember 2013
Von helibor
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Sehr gut gemachte Krimistory, die nebenbei auch noch interessante Einblicke in den Alltag der Bevölkerung gewährt. Manchmal sind allerdings gute Nerven gefragt bei etwas drastischen Schilderungen im kriminellen Alltag. Lesenswert !
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  58 Rezensionen
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Best Kubu Yet! 12. September 2011
Von G. C. Brown - Veröffentlicht auf
It's always gratifying to see writers mature. With the third book in the Detective Kubu series Michale Stanley have hit their ("their" as in Micheal Sears and Stanly Trollip) stride. The first two books in the series were good...but Mantis is GREAT. The storytelling is so tight (and taut!) that you don't want to put the book down. I found myself at 4 AM saying "just one more chapter...". And, as with the the other books, Botswana itself is just as much a character as the people that inhabit the book. I can't wait for book four!
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Kubu bemused 30. Dezember 2011
Von Patto - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
The third Detective Kubu mystery takes us into the elusive world of the First People of Botswana, commonly called Bushmen. Kubu had a Bushman friend in primary school who taught him how to look beyond the obvious. This wily approach to reading subtle signs in nature eventually led Kubu to police work.

And so it's quite fitting that this book brings Kubu back to the Bushman culture and worldview.

Death of the Mantis has a simpler plot than previous books, so I won't say anything about it - just that I really appreciated the tight circularity of the story. The Michael Stanley team gets more adept with every Kubu mystery!

I loved spending days sweating and freezing in the Kalahari Desert. I was fascinated to learn something about Bushman arrow poisons and hallucinogens. And it was a pleasure watching Kubu extricate himself from impossible situations.

The tightness of the plot is only apparent at the end! Throughout, both Kubu and the reader get sidetracked and bemused repeatedly. And the story is rich in characters and incidents. We meet shy Bushmen who know how to make themselves invisible, murder victims as out of control as the murderer, and detectives with warring theories. Meanwhile Kubu's love affair with his wife intensifies, despite the complications of a new baby.

Serious Kubu fans can try making his favorite non-alcoholic drink, Steelworks. See instructions (of a sort) on page 38.

I always appreciate the maps and Authors Notes in these mysteries. It seems that certain episodes in this book really happened. And the bed and breakfast farm near Tsabong actually exists. Wish I could go there. But at least I got a fictional visit!

Kubu hates waiting around for anything, and I do too. Hope the next book is coming soon.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen More than an excellent police procedural 8. September 2011
Von E. Crowley - Veröffentlicht auf
I always have a book with me and, often, when I am asked about the book and I mention the title, the author, and the genre, the response is, "I don't read mysteries. I don't like Agatha Christie." Fact is, I don't like Agatha Christie. If that style was all there is in mystery, I wouldn't be reading mysteries either but the popularity of the genre shows that most readers do know how far mysteries have come, incorporating societal problems into stories, making them more believable and more thought-provoking.

Michael Stanley's DEATH OF THE MANTIS is a case in point. The body of a game ranger is found in the Kalahari desert in Botswana. When the police arrive, they find three Bushmen with the dying man, trying to give him water. Monzo has suffered a severe injury to his head and he dies before reaching the hospital. The men who discover the body are arrested for the murder. There is no evidence that the Bushmen were involved but in Botswana it is case closed, no need to look for other suspects.

Assistant Superintendent David Bengu, known as Kubu to everyone, receives a call from a childhood friend, Khumanego, a Bushmen. He and David had attended school together, drawn to each other because neither fit in. But they have lost touch over the years and each knows little about the adult life of the other. As boys, Khumanego had taken Kubu to the desert and showed him how to survive. Now Kubu tries to survive among animals of the two-legged variety and serpents more dangerous than those who hide under rocks. Khumanego is an advocate and spokesman for his people, helping the Bushmen whose life style is minunderstood and whose group is denegrated.

Khumanego tells Kubu, "The Bushmen see things very differently from other peoples....Your people see themselves as separate from everything...We see ourselves as part of everything. We are part of the sky and of the earth. And the sky is part of the earth, and the earth part of the sky. Just as day is part of the night. And night part of day. And you and me are part of each other. When you dream, you change my world, just as my dreams change yours." Khumanego no longer remembers or appreciates any of the things he learned as a student. The two old friends no longer have common ground on which they can build the trust they had enjoyed as boys but Kubu honors the bond they had and the Bushmen are released. Before long, there are two more murders and the Bushmen have disappeared. Again, no need to look further; the Bushmen must have been the killers as first thought.

Kubu is drawn into another case, that of a missing man who had been looking for an old map. Since this is Africa, there is inevitably a search for precious stones that brings in the worst people to Botswana and brings out the worst in good people.

The books by Michael Stanley bring Botswana to life. The section of DEATH OF THE MANTIS that describes Kubu's experience in the desert is outstanding. The sun in a desert is no longer the giver of life but an enemy ready to steal life when humans fail to acknowledge that somethings are bigger than what is conceived of in the minds of men.

Kubu makes the stories work. He is intelligent but he doesn't let it get in the way of doing what needs to be done even if his actions fly in the face of common sense. He is devoted to his family, his wife, his new baby, his parents, and his in-laws. He knows that the family is the cornerstone of society and he does his best to make his part of the stone tight, without chinks that would undermine its integrity. He works to maintain that same integrity in his country.

The lives of the Bushmen in Botswana are becoming increasingly complicated by the desire of the government to move them to settlements which, for want of a better word, could be called reservations. Their numbers are decreasing and their philosophy that there can be no such thing as individual ownership is also similar to that of Native Americans. As a minority is a society that believes and encourages the opposite, the culture may continue to be compromised. They believe that the mantis created the world and all its people and the first of the people created were the San, a better name for the group than "bushmen." With this belief and their connection to their ancestors through stories handed from one generation to the next, these are a people with dignity and a surety of their place in the world. The authors do not treat the Bushmen as caricatures but as people whose values are outside the norm but who may be better because of that.

The authors loosely based the murder of the game ranger on a case that occurred in Botswana and led to an examination of the death penalty. Ditshwanelo is an advocacy group working to protect human rights in Botswana. The group became involved in a case in which two men were sentenced to death for murdering a man from whom they had stolen an ox. Motswetla and Maauwe were found guilty of the murder despite having virtually no legal representation. Both men were illiterate and incapable of understanding the charges brought against them. The dates of their executions were stayed as a result of innumerable delays requested by their new lawyers. After more than ten years in prison, they were released when a judge ruled that they had been deprived of their right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.

The examination of the death penalty did not bring about its end.

All of the books in the Detective Kubu series are excellent and worth reading. What can be better than a good book that sends me off to Google to get more information? If only school had been so painless.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen `The Place is very sacred and very secret.' 23. März 2012
Von Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Veröffentlicht auf
The story opens with a prologue set in the 1950s involving Gibiwasi (a young bushman) and his father, and their visit to an important sacred spot in the Kalahari Desert known as `The Place'. Gibiwasi's father enjoins him not to tell anyone about The Place, except his own eldest son when the time comes.

In the present, Monzo, a ranger from the Transfrontier Park is found dead by two of his colleagues. There are three Bushmen with him and while they say that they had only just arrived and were trying to revive him, Detective Lerako does not believe them and they are arrested for murder. Detective David Bengu (`Kubu' - meaning hippopotamus in Setswana), who works in Gabarone (the capital of Botswana) is contacted by his old school friend Khumanego. Khumanego, a bushman, is now an advocate for Bushmen and their traditions, and claims that the Bushmen are innocent and are being persecuted for cultural reasons. There really is no reason for Kubu to be involved in this case and his boss Mabaku says no, until a reporter gets wind of it and threatens to write a story about the bad treatment of the Bushmen. So, for political reasons, Kubu becomes involved and then the case becomes more complicated because of a second murder: a white man in an isolated part of the Kalahari. And then, there is a third murder ... Can Kubu find the killer, and why have these men been murdered? And how will Kubu's wife Joy and their new daughter Tumi, handle his absence?
This novel is an interesting mix of Kubu's work as a detective and tales of his domestic life, of his battle with weight and of his wife's adjustment to life with a young baby. There's insight, too, into the life of the Kalahari Bushmen and the challenges posed by the Kalahari Desert.

This is my first Detective Kubu novel (although it is the third in this series). I like David Bengu and his family, and I look forward to reading the first two novels published in this series by `Michael Stanley' (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip).

`Perhaps this was the only way. Preserve the past, do your best for the present, ignore the future.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Old friendships 21. Januar 2012
Von Friederike Knabe - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Anybody who has enjoyed "The Gods Must Be Crazy" movies will feel an immediate affinity to this novel, the third Detective Kubu story by South African writing team "Michael Stanley" (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip). While the movies may have given us a somewhat idealistic view of the life of the "Bushmen"*) in the wide expanse of the Kalahari Desert, the reality of their survival between their traditional way of life and long-held beliefs set against expectations and demands of modern Botswana society is much more realistically depicted here. While the clash of cultures is an important theme in this novel, it does not at all slow down the fast pace narrative, instead it contributes to this being a substantive, totally absorbing page-turner.

For those, not familiar with the central character, suffice to say that `Kubu', meaning hippopotamus in Setswana, is the nickname for rotund, food loving, opera singing, jovial Assistant Superintendent and family man David Bengu, who stands out for his inimitable approach to criminal investigations that he is called upon to deal with. His boss, Mabaku, describes him as a man "whose emotions sometimes get in the way of his brain". Whether that is a weakness or strength, it is being tested in his new case. A friend from his early school days, Bushman Khumanego, begs Kubu to intervene on behalf of three Bushmen, arrested for the murder of a park ranger. While there is only questionable circumstantial evidence, placing the three at the scene of the wounded ranger, the local police have a tendency to blame the indigenous people first and look for evidence later if at all. Reluctantly Mabaku allows Kubu to supervise the local police investigation, worried that a miscarriage of justice as had happened in a previous (actual) case some years previously, will again bring unwelcome international attention to the treatment of Bushmen in criminal cases. Kubu's investigation is complicated by news of second killing, this time of a white man in an isolated area of the Kalahari and the strange story by a witness...

The evocative depiction of the setting, especially of the Kalahari Desert's hazards to anybody ignorant of survival techniques in the stunningly beautiful, yet dangerous and unforgiving environment, is one of the many attractions of this novel. The authors treat the social conflicts between the Batswana and the Bushman population and, also, within the latter with understanding and sensitivity. For me, all these aspects have added depth and meaning to the well-conceived and -structured detective story. These components are integrated with such skill that they, actually, add drive and tension to the narrative. [Friederike Knabe]

*) see my first comment concerning the use of the term "Bushman".
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