1950s South Africa is very much a character in this series – indeed, I’d describe it as the main antagonist. From the comfort of a 21st century armchair, it’s a most confronting world that dwells in my memory long after finishing the book. After a harshly beautiful rural setting in the first book, this story moves to the coastal city of Durban. Malla Nunn’s deft descriptions drew me in to this gritty underworld – excellent to read about, hell of a place to live. Or die.
Faced with a ticking clock – forty-eight hours to solve the murders or face arrest and likely hanging – Emmanuel Cooper follows leads and tracks witnesses. Like him, the reader is unsure who to trust. Sometimes help comes from unlikely sources. Danger too. Even his former boss and supposed protector has his own agenda. A fascinating cast of characters overall. I wondered how it would all come together in the end. A suitably twisty ending, of course.
Beautifully written and highly recommended. Let’s hope more trouble is heading Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper’s way soon.