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New Botswana series

Oops!  I just found a series that we overlooked.  Perhap you will be as pleased as I was to discover that there is another mystery series set in Botswana.  Unlike Alexander McCall Smith’s Precious Ramotswe, this detective is a policeman.  David Bengu is Assistant Superintendent of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department in the capital city Gaborone.  As you might guess from his nickname “Kubu ” (meaning hippopotamus), he is  overweight and usually genial.  But like a hippo when roused, he thunders ahead to capture the guilty.  “Kubu” is a modern man—an opera-loving  gourmand who lives in a Western style house.  But he respects the more traditional life of his parents and his knowledge of both worlds makes him a superb detective.  Michael Stanley is the pseudonym of South African writing team Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip.  The third book in the series, Death of the Mantis will be published on September 6, 2011 by Harper.  It concerns the plight of three Bushmen accused of murder.

–posted 8/21/2011

Posted August/21/2011

Commander Jana Matinova

Here is a new strong female police detective to follow.   Jana Matinova entered the police force as a young woman and has risen through the ranks to the position of Commander. She married an actor and raised a daughter.  She is tough, courageous and brilliant at solving the most complex international crimes. Though stationed in Brataslava, she must often go beyond Slovak borders. The books provide an interesting view into countries and situations where politics and crime seem inextricable. Michael Genelin is an American-born lawyer and writer who lives in Paris.  At present there are four books in the series.  The latest, Requiem for a Gypsy (Soho, 2011), concerns the murder of Klara Boganova, wife of a prominent financier and aspiring politican.

–posted 8/15/2011

Posted August/15/2011

How detectives age

In case you didn’t see it, here is a link:

to an interesting article from the 7/1/2011 Wall Street Journal about aging fictional detectives.  Author Alexandra Alter writes about how various authors handle the aging of their famous detectives.  Patricia Cornwell, for instance, decided to stop her forensic expert Kay Scarpetta from aging beyond 50.  “People don’t want to read about her when she’s 80,” she said. Sue Grafton ages Kinsey Millhone about one year for every 2½ books.  The scrappy Kinsey was 32 when the series began in 1982 and will be 40-ish when it concludes–that’s if Grafton stops at Z.  I, for one, want her to keep going into another alphabet.  But Grafton, who is 71, says that readers will never “have to watch Kinsey Millhone go through menopause”.

–posted 8/14/2011

Posted August/14/2011

The new Robert B. Parkers

Fans will be happy that Putnam has arranged for Robert B. Parker’s series to continue.  Killing the Blues, to be released on Sept. 13th, was written by Michael Brandman, a Hollywood producer and screenwriter who collaborated with Parker in bringing his characters to the screen (three Spencer films for A & E and the Jesse Stone series for CBS).  Brandman will write the Jesse Stone books and Ace Atkins will continue the Spencer series.  Atkins has written nine crime novels, including four books featuring Nick Travers, blues specialist and amateur sleuth.  Only time will tell if the Parker franchisers will measure up, but you can be sure that Parker fans will want to read them and decide for themselves.     –posted 8/6/2011

Posted August/6/2011

MI5 agent Liz Carlyle

Author Stella Rimington was herself the first female head of MI5 and her experience there was the subject of Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (Hutchinson UK, 2001).  After retiring, Ms Rimington turned to writing thrillers starring MI5 agent Liz Carlyle.  In the first book, At Risk (Knopf, 2005), Liz is an agent-runner in MI5’s counter-terrorism unit.  She is young, hip and bored with her married lover.  Under her leadership, her team has enjoyed impressive success at identifying and disabling terrorist plots.   The newest book Rip Tide (Bloomsbury, 2011), fifth in the series,  begins when Liz interviews young Amir Khan, a British citizen who was captured along with other pirates trying to hijack a freighter off the coast of Somalia.  The presumably authentic detail adds a special  chill to the thrill in these page-turners.  Rimington’s characters, good and bad, are well-drawn and they deal with situations torn from today’s headlines.

–posted 8/1/2011

Posted August/1/2011

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