Monday, January 06, 2020

Facets of Death by Michael Stanley

First Line: The early-morning sun promised a scorcher of a day, and David "Kubu" Bengu's clothes were already damp with sweat-- not unusual for a man of his size in a hot climate.

Fresh from university, David "Kubu" Bengu is a newly minted sergeant in the Botswana police force-- and some of his co-workers resent the fact that he hasn't come up the hard way like they have. Dealing with them will be a test of his people skills, but right now, he has more important fish to fry.

The richest diamond mine in the world has just been robbed of 100,000 carats of diamonds. Police immediately suspect an inside job, but when the robbers are found killed execution-style and the diamonds are still missing, the investigation changes.

Now Kubu not only has to find the diamonds and the mastermind of the robbery, but he's also working on a case of missing luggage at the Gabarone airport. It's not going to be long before everyone knows why he's on the fast track.

Longtime fans of Michael Stanley's wonderful Detective Kubu series should love this prequel. Readers who've never met the wily detective before can easily start with Facets of Death, find themselves hooked, and move on to the rest of the series. 

We meet Kubu on his very first day on the job, and we also get to see him meet the woman who will become his wife. We see how Kubu deals with jealousy in the workforce, and-- heavens above-- does this young man soak up knowledge like the proverbial sponge! He makes mistakes, learns from them, and begins to learn to trust his instincts. Facets of Death is great for learning Kubu's backstory.

But, as in all of Michael Stanley's books, that's not all we learn. There are two excellent mysteries to solve (the diamond robbery and the missing luggage at the airport), and we learn how the police forces in Botswana and South Africa cooperate with each other. If that's not enough, there's information about the diamond business to absorb as well.

Some readers love Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I read three or four of them and found them a bit too precious (pun intended). I was thrilled when I discovered Detective Kubu. Michael Stanley provides the same insights into the people and culture of Botswana, the same knowledge of the country, but with mysteries that have more bite. 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.

Facets of Death by Michael Stanley
eISBN: 9781464211287
Poisoned Pen Press © 2020
eBook, 336 pages

Police Procedural, #7 Detective Kubu mystery (prequel)
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. I do like this series, Cathy - a lot. And sometimes, prequels can be very well-done. They can feel 'tacked on,' but I have the feeling the Michael Stanley team did a good job with this one. It looks great!

  2. You might like to read Mall Nunn’s Detective Emmanuel Cooper series set in South Africa if you haven’t already, I think you’ll like it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this book

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Shelleyrae. I have already read Nunn's Emmanuel Cooper series. Good stuff!


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