Welcome to 2021
2020 was a very tough year for almost everyone. It certainly was for us. Michael was locked down alone for many months at his home in Knysna, South Africa. And the South African lockdown was tough. Really tough. Little or no mobility; no alcohol sales; and severe restrictions on visitors. Stanley was alone at his flat 500 kms to the west in Cape Town under the same conditions.
Unlike some people we know, we have come through the pandemic so far in reasonably good shape. Being retirees, we didn’t have jobs to lose; being ultra cautious, we kept safe and healthy (touch wood). However, we’ve missed the contact with many friends, not least as a result of the cancellation of all of the mystery conventions last year. We hope 2021 will be better in that regard, but both think that there will be restrictions needed until the end of the year, notwithstanding vaccines.
The next Detective Kubu mystery
We’ve made progress on the next Detective Kubu mystery, set in the northwest of Botswana where the Kavango River spreads out into the Okavango Delta, then disappears into the Kalahari Desert.
While trenching for a new pipeline, a contractor unearths a human skeleton. Pathologist Ian MacGregor and Kubu are sent to investigate. They expect a cold case, because the skeleton is likely ancient. However, they discover much more than they bargained for.
New paperback editions
We have some great news to kick off the year. Our fifth and sixth Detective Kubu mysteries, A Death in the Family and Dying to Live, have never been released as paperbacks in North America, and the hardcovers were really expensive. We’ve now obtained the rights back from the publisher and have published A Death in the Family as a paperback and as an ebook in all formats. Dying to Live will follow shortly.
Here are some reviews of A Death in the Family
‘Under the African sun, Michael Stanley’s Detective Kubu investigates crimes as dark as the darkest of Nordic Noir. Call it Sunshine Noir, if you will – a must read.’
– Yrsa Sigurdardottir, best-selling author of I Remember You
‘Kubu returns with a vengeance – but what is prowling in the darkness of Botswana is more dangerous than the four-legged predators. Then there are the Chinese who just may be the most dangerous of all … I love it!’
– Charles Todd, award-winning author of the Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mysteries
‘The fifth rip-roaring mystery in the Detective Kubu series. If you haven’t read the others, the lovable return characters, exceptional police procedural plot and close-to-home Botswana setting will make you want to.’
– South African Sunday Times
‘This fifth mystery featuring Detective Kubu is another fast-moving procedural notable for its warm characterizations and vivid sense of place. A natural for fans of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.’ – Booklist
Release of Facets of Death outside North America
A new short story anthology
or £0.77 (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Detective-Kubu-Invest…/…/B07XH4Z9CM).
We have decided to bring out a third ebook collection of short stories to offer a bit of amusement during lockdown. It’s called African Mysteries, and the great cover photo is courtesy of wildlife photographer Aron Frankental. (Aron has a role in our debut novel and is still a close friend even though we bumped him off!)
In The Ring, an informal recycler makes a horrifying discovery in a rich, Johannesburg woman’s garbage bin.
In Three on a Trail, two girls start on a hike along the South African coast, but only one comes out. And that one can’t remember what happened. The missing girl’s brother decides to find out, but gets much more than he bargained for.
Then, an embittered police detective investigates a murder and the theft of diamonds from a De Beers facility in The Last Case of Inspector Fourie. The puzzle is how did the diamonds leave the building through all the automated security, and what happened to them after that?
The collection just didn’t seem right without a Kubu story. So we wrote a new, young Kubu tale to kick it off. In Serial Killer, wet-behind-the-ears Kubu is assigned a trivial case trying to catch a prankster. But then the pranks start to escalate and seem headed towards murder.
We hope these stories will keep you amused for an hour or so. For June, the new collection is available at 99 cents (or equivalent) through all the usual ebook sales channels.
The latest KUBU Mystery
The new Kubu mystery is available in North America!
“FACETS OF DEATH is easily one of the best heist novels I’ve read since Gerald Browne’s classic 11 Harrowhouse” – BookPage starred review.
Facets of Death is set in the late 1990s when Kubu first joins the Botswana CID as a raw detective. While he’s trying to be accepted by the current staff and to make a role for himself in the CID, a massive diamond heist takes place on the road from Jwaneng — home of the world’s richest diamond mine.
It’s immediately clear that this is no opportunistic robbery. The mine has a complicated security scheme in place, and Kubu and his boss, Assistant Superintendent Mabaku, immediately suspect an inside job. The robbers systematically eliminate all the witnesses, and then they are killed by the South African police, leaving the detectives with nothing to go on.
Kubu and Mabaku are sure they can solve the case if only their contacts can stay alive long enough to point them in the right direction. However, when one of the mine’s senior managers becomes the next victim, they are forced to set a trap for the crime’s mastermind. If it fails, their careers are over – in Kubu’s case before it’s even begun.
It’s also be available from the following booksellers:
Mary Ann Grossmann in Pioneer Press, St. Paul, summed up Facets of Death wonderfully: “Besides being an exciting police procedural, this book helps us understand this big, likable detective… It should send readers unfamiliar with the series right to the bookstore.”
We were thrilled to get a starred review from Bruce Tierney in BookPage, who wrote: “Facets of Death is easily one of the best heist novels I’ve read since Gerald Browne’s classic 11 Harrowhouse.”
Cathy Cole said in Kittling Books “I’d no more miss a Detective Kubu mystery than I would forget to brush my teeth in the morning. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting David “Kubu” Bengu, get your hands on a copy of Facets of Death. You can thank me later.”
Adam Woog wrote in The Seattle Times “Parallels to Alexander McCall Smith … are clear, but Kubu’s distinctive personality, juxtaposed against scenes of his country’s darker sides, help his adventures stand out.”
And Joe Hartlaub in Bookreporter “Those who are familiar with Kubu will rejoice over this latest entry… As for readers who are new to Kubu and Botswana, Facets of Death functions as the perfect place to jump on. Every fan of mystery novels already should be reading and enjoying this series, and not just because of the ending, which has quickly and quietly become my favorite in recent memory.”
Finally, Publishers Weekly wrote “Entertaining… Series followers will enjoy the backstory.”
Dead of Night (U.K. & South Africa) a.k.a. Shoot The Bastards (U.S.)
C J Box writes about it: “From Minnesota to South Africa to Mozambique to Vietnam, Michael Stanley’s SHOOT THE BASTARDS is an extraordinary tale of the extreme measures taken to combat international poaching and smuggling.”
When her friend Michael Davidson goes missing while researching a National Geographic story on rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling, investigative journalist Crystal Nguyen heads to Africa to try to find him and to finish his story. But within a week she’s been hunting poachers, been hunted by their bosses, and been arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t safely get rid of. She comes to realise how little she knows about Africa and war between the poachers and the conservation officers.
What she does know is that she’s determined to find Michael and that she’s committed to preventing a planned major operation in South Africa to secure a huge number of rhino horns. She goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her.
In this stand-alone thriller, Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu mystery series, introduces an intriguing new protagonist, and at the same time exposes one of the most vicious conflicts of southern Africa with its Asian puppet-masters.
“Dead of Night is a book the world needs. It’s a crime novel with a difference. Unlike your usual crime novel, where you can usually figure out who’s committed the crime towards the end, Dead of Night throws you off at every turn. Drawing you into a sea of deceit that, by the tie you realise you’re fully submerged, the darkness has you firmly in its grasp.” — Dan Stubbings, The Dimension Between Worlds blog
‘…an entertaining page-turner. Readers will look forward to the sequel.” — Publishers Weekly
“I love Crys Nguyen, an intrepid environmentalist, quick thinking and fearless. Although tiny, she fights way above her weight. With a bit of karate and a deep commitment to yoga and meditation, she is a young woman after my own heart. I can’t wait to see what she gets herself mixed up in next time out.” — Susan Hoover, reviewingtheevidence.com
“It’s an enthralling, immersive read that won’t disappoint.” — Promoting Crime Fiction
“This story is brutal, brilliant and utterly breath-taking, my favourite of this writing duo so far…..Totally stunning in every sense of the word.” — Books from Dusk Till Dawn
I don’t think I caught my breath properly the whole time I was reading it. It is the best thriller that I have read in a long while.” — A Little Book Problem blog