When a half-eaten body is found on a game preserve, Detective "Kubu" Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department is assigned the case. Unfortunately, nothing remains to identify the man other than that he was white. When a geologist working at the Maboane diamond mine is reported missing, Kubu thinks he may be the murdered man. What he finds out about the activities at the mine leads to an investigation of the large conglomerate Botswana Cattle and Mining Company. BCMC has just been handed over to the twin niece and nephew of the current CEO according to the trust of his deceased brother, the original owner. It so happens that the nephew is an old friend of Kubu's. In order to solve this complex mystery, Kubu is helped by Ian Macgregor, the coroner; Bongani, an ecology professor; and a witch doctor, the latter not by choice.
This mystery is rich in plot, characters and setting. The plot is intricate and a list of characters at the beginning of the book is helpful in remembering who is who. Kubu, which means hippopotamus in Setswana, aptly describes the detective's large physique and personality. Secondary characters including Kubu's parents, boss, associates and suspects give a sense of Botswana's culture, economy, and politics. The landscape is harsh but beautiful. This is the first in a series and the reader looks forward to the next Detective Kubu mystery.
Reviewed by ch, 9/08. Other reviews by ch.