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The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu: A Detective Kubu Mystery (Detective Kubu Mysteries) Hardcover – June 2, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Detective Kubu Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061252492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061252495
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,772,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Stanley's fine second mystery to feature Botswana police detective David Bengu (after 2008's A Carrion Death), Bengu, an overweight gourmet aptly nicknamed Kubu (Setswana for hippopotamus), investigates the murders of two male guests at an isolated bush camp. One victim was a black South African tourist; the other, according to his fingerprints, was Goodluck Tinubu, supposedly killed 29 years earlier in the Rhodesian civil war. A third camp guest, who's disappeared, becomes the prime suspect. While the local police want to blame the country's lucrative drug trade for the murders, Bengu believes the key lies in Goodluck's background, though many people, including Bengu's father, knew Goodluck as a thoughtful, devoted teacher. The story runs on a little too long, as though Stanley, the South African writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, couldn't bear to leave this evocative setting. Readers will feel the same way. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. When two guests at the remote Jackalberry bush camp in northern Botswana are murdered, police discover that one of the dead men, Zimbabwean teacher Goodluck Tinubu, was already dead. Assistant Superintendent Kubu Bengu is sent to oversee the investigation, which gets more complicated when Joy, Bengu's beloved wife, is attacked in their home and he receives threatening phone calls. Following his spectacular debut, A Carrion Death, Stanley comes roaring back with an even better tale. Bringing a love of Africa similar to Alexander McCall Smith's popular "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, the author has created an excellent new venue for those who love to read about other cultures while enjoying a good mystery. Highly recommended. [Stanley is actually the writing team of South Africans Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.—Ed.]
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Will read the series and hope for more!
Lynne Stevens
The bottom line, however, is that THE SECOND DEATH, like its predecessor, is exceptionally well written.
Enough twists to keep you going to the end!
James C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not too long ago, I read a book called A Carrion Death and fell in love with a country and a character. The country is Botswana. The character is a policeman with the unlikely nickname of Kubu ("hippopotamus"). When I discovered that the second book in this mystery series was about to be published, I succumbed to temptation and pre-ordered it. I'm glad I did. The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu fulfills the promise contained in the first book.

This time around, two men are found murdered in a bush camp on the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is assigned to the case. One victim is a tourist from South Africa. The other is Goodluck Tinubu, a Zimbabwean who had been teaching in Botswana for several years. A third person, thought to be a dissident wanted in Zimbabwe, has disappeared. The local police seem unable or unwilling to provide much help, so Detective Kubu must rely on his own instincts to track down the killers. Almost from the beginning he realizes that everyone involved has something to hide and that unraveling each clue will take all his skill.

The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu delves a bit more into the political side of life in Botswana: life in remote villages far off the grid, how the police of Botswana and South Africa try to work together, and how tense life can be when a border is shared with a country like Zimbabwe. The setting of the Okavango Delta is wonderful, especially for someone like me who's grown up watching dozens of National Geographic specials.

Political-- and wild-- animals aside, the true strengths of this book can be found in the labyrinthine plot where no one is who he seems to be and no one's motivations are clear-- and in the excellent characterizations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Botswana Assistant Superintendent David "Kubu" Bengu investigates the murders of two men at the remote Jackalberry bush camp. Both Sipho Langa a black South African tourist and the Goodluck Tinubu were guests. The problem with the identification of the latter based on his fingerprints is that Goodluck died almost three decades ago during the Rhodesian civil war.

The third Zimbabwean Ishmael Zondo has vanished with the cops assuming he is the killer on the run tying him to drug trafficking though camp manger Dupie says he took him to the airport. Bengu thinks otherwise as he feels Goodluck is the key to solving the homicides. So he is surprised that many people including his own father thought highly of Goodluck as a teacher. The case is going nowhere for him with the pressure upstairs to find the missing third guest and at home when his wife Joy is attacked.

The second Kubu Botswana police procedural (see A CARRION DEATH) is a terrific whodunit that focuses on the investigation, but also showcases the author team's love of the landlocked South African country. In fact the leisure stroll through the countryside while making inquiries provides a deep look at this nation, but does take time from solving the case. Fans, especially those of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith will enjoy this engaging "geographical" murder mystery as Michael Stanley provides a deep look into this democracy.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Friederike Knabe VINE VOICE on November 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Detective "Kubu" Bengu, assistant Superintendent in the Botswana CID, is called to a nasty murder scene in the country's most northern part: two men dead and one has disappeared. One of those killed, popular teacher Goodluck Tinubu, appears to have been the victim of a revenge killing. Kubu (meaning hippo in Setswana) and his local CID colleague, Detective Sergeant Joseph "Tatwa" (giraffe) Mooka, have a major puzzle on their hands. This second "Kubu" crime investigation novel by South African writing team Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip is even richer and more intricate than the well-received first, A Carrion Death: Introducing Detective Kubu. Set against the beautiful landscapes of normally peaceful Botswana, hefty problems bubble under the surface, however: cross-border drug trade, regional political tensions with Zimbabwe, and long lingering violent conflicts from across the borders.

Central to the investigation is the remote Jackalberry tourist camp, run by two white ex-Rhodesians. Located on a peninsula, close to the borders with Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, it is reachable only by either boat or by wading through the swamps, inhabited by hippos and crocs. It seems to attract a motley group of staff and visitors. Most appear to have something to hide from the detectives. Tinubu, for example, it turns out, was already killed once before: in the Rhodesian civil war some thirty years earlier. When searching for the disappeared man, the trace leads to Zimbabwe also. Kubu, usually the pondering meticulous gentle giant who never rushes and hardly ever misses out on a good meal, is pressured hard by his superiors for quick results.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patto TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a mystery teeming with wildlife.

Two men have been killed at a remote holiday camp at the northern border of Botswana. Tourists go there to see exotic birds and animals. Guest tents have intimate views of crocodile filled waters. Nature talks non-stop through burbling bush shrikes, raucous go-away birds, barking baboons, grunting hippos and elephants knocking down trees.

Even the detectives mirror the animal world. Assistant Superintendent Kubu's nickname means hippo. He's the hotshot detective from Gaborone sent to help the local cop, Detective Sergeant Tatwa, whose nickname means giraffe. They work well together.

This is my second Detective Kubu mystery, and I'm hooked.

I loved watching the pensive 300-pound Kubu work his way through mounds of muffins, tea biscuits, fast food specials and tasty bush cuisine, while mulling over the increasingly ill-fitting puzzle pieces of the case. I had great fun driving and flying all over Botswana with Kubu researching victims and suspects. Most of the characters in this book, dead or alive, are hiding something, past or present.

I can't even hint at the plot, because I found its complexity quite daunting. But I was there for the ride anyway. No matter if some of the details blurred.

The characters, black and white, are as interesting as the setting: men who fought in the terrible Rhodesian war, devious lady journalists, a greedy dealer in African curios, an eccentric bush cook with a pet bird who steals fruit, heartless bad guys and wonderfully resourceful Botswana women.

The authors also give the reader a picture of history, politics and economics in this part of Africa.

All in all, a very satisfactory reading experience. I'm on to the next book...
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More About the Author

Michael Stanley is the writing name of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both natives of Africa, we have traveled regularly together to Botswana and Zimbabwe over the past twenty years to experience the country with its wide diversity and interesting peoples. Our books reflect the authentic Africa of the 21st century: not merely the politically unstable, desperately poor Africa of the nightly news, but also the emotional conflicts of people with one foot in traditional culture and the other in Western-instigated globalism. The new Africa is not the safari jungle, but a collection of diverse groups and nations struggling to find their way in a rapidly changing context.

It was at the lion research center in the Savuti, an ancient dried-up lake in Botswana's Chobe National Park, that we realized how to conceal a perfect murder. We watched hyenas team up to drive lions off their fresh kills, then devour everything in sight, bones and all. By the next morning, no evidence remained of the carcass. Botswana offered the ideal setting for such a literary revelation. This was the kernel of the idea that led to our first book, A CARRION DEATH.

Our detective is Assistant Superintendent David Bengu of the Botswana criminal Investigation Department. His nickname is Kubu because of his size - "kubu" being the Setswana word for hippopotamus. Hippos in the wild spend most of the day in pools or rivers, with all but their eyes and ears under water; they look deceptively docile, belying the fact that they kill more people in Africa than any other mammal, trampling whatever lies between them and their objective. So with Kubu. On the surface he appears harmless; a convivial man with a sly sense of humor who loves his wife, and is passionate about wine and music. But Kubu is a capable, wily policeman determined to rid Botswana of crime, no matter what gets in his way.

In A CARRION DEATH, Kubu is faced with a vicious plot involving blood diamonds, greed, and corruption, with a touch of the supernatural. The book is set in the arid south of Botswana and in the capital city, Gaborone.

A CARRION DEATH was shortlisted for best debut mystery novel for the BARRY, MACAVITY and STRAND MAGAZINE CRITICS' awards. It was also shortlisted for the UK's Crime Writers Association DEBUT DAGGER award, and for the Minnesota Book Awards Genre Fiction.

In THE SECOND DEATH OF GOODLUCK TINUBU, Kubu has to investigate the murder of two supposed tourists at a camp in the lush north of the country along the beautiful Linyanti river. Across the river lie Namibia and Zimbabwe. Kubu has to delve into the past and the Rhodesian Bush War to unravel the mystery of the modern day killings.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS is set in the Kalahari and the back story is the plight of the Bushman (or San) peoples of the area. When a game ranger is found dead in a dry ravine, his corpse surrounded by three Bushmen, the local police arrest the nomads. Kubu investigates the case and is reunited with his old school friend Khumanego, a Bushman and advocate for his people. Khumanego claims the nomads are innocent and the arrests motivated by racist antagonism. The Bushmen are released, but soon after, another man is murdered in similar circumstances. Are the Bushmen to blame, or is it a copycat murder? Then there is a third murder. Again it points to the Bushmen. Kubu journeys into the depths of the Kalahari to find the truth. All his powers of detection are tested as well as his ability to stay alive...

DEATH OF THE MANTIS has been shortlisted for the ANTHONY and EDGAR awards for best paperback original mystery of 2011, as well as for Minnesota Book Awards Genre Fiction. The book won the BARRY Award for best paperback original mystery.

DEADLY HARVEST - the fourth Detective Kubu mystery - revolves around the pervasive belief in black magic in southern Africa and the potions of witch doctors who still produce great fear in many of the local people.

We enjoy both a local and transglobal collaboration, mainly via e-mail and Skype. Michael lives in Johannesburg, South Africa; Stanley spends half the year in coastal South Africa and half in Minnesota.

For more about us, our books and Botswana, see