Daily Archives: September 15, 2011

Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery by Michael Stanley (Review #2)

Death of the MantisReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Death of the Mantis brings readers back to Botswana for Detective Kubu’s third case as the Assistant Superintendent of Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. In this book, even more than in the first two books in the series, the authors have captured the clash between “modern” Africa and the ancient traditional people. The presence of the Bushman culture and its daily conflict with the modern world adds a wonderful layer to the story, serving to set this book apart from other books set on the African Continent.

The primary setting for Death of the Mantis is in the Southern Kalahari Desert area of Botswana. This is an area rich in history, the traditional home of the wandering Bushman tribes and an area potentially rich in diamonds and other gems. Right away readers can see what will cause the clash of cultures because, as history has shown time and again, when material riches are to be had, traditions are tossed aside. And so the story opens.

Detective Kubu is called into a case when a fellow officer is found dead in a ravine in the Kalahari. Before long it is determined that his death was not accidental and the logical suspects are the group of Bushmen who were with the man when he was found. A school chum of Kubu’s appeals to him to help clear the Bushmen, claiming it is outside of their culture to have killed the man. Kudu agrees, but things quickly go wrong for both Kudu and the investigation as a second and later a third body are found under similar circumstances.