A Deadly Trade, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Set amid the beauty and darkness of modern Botswana, the second in the fantastic crime series featuring the opera-loving wine connoisseur Assistant Superintendant David 'Kubu' Bengu of the Botswana Police Force When a mutilated body is found at a tourist camp in northern Botswana, the corpse displays the classic signs of a revenge killing.

But when fingerprints are analysed Detective 'Kubu' Bengu Kubu makes a shocking discovery: the victim is already dead.

He was slain in the Rhodesian war thirty ago. Kubu soon realises that nothing at the camp is as it seems. And as the guests are picked off one by one, time is running out.

With rumours of horrifying war crimes, the scent of a drug-smuggling trail and mounting pressure from his superiors to contend with, Kubu forgets there is one door left unguarded - his own. And as he sets a trap to find a murderer, the hunters are closing in on him...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780755344093

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

There's something in the water (or maybe it's in the dust) in Africa at the moment. Whilst there has been a slowly increasing number of crime or mystery books set in Africa, there's now an increasing number written by African authors appearing for our enjoyment. Michael Stanley (the South African duo of long-time friends Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip), have now released their second book - A DEADLY TRADE (aka The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu), follow up to the very well received debut book - A CARRION DEATH.Wrapped up in the well devised plot of a solid police procedural, A DEADLY TRADE is very much a novel of Africa. The setting for the crime obviously helps - a tourist bush camp, made up of tents, set on the banks of crocodile and hippo infested waters. The characters fit so well into that setting - Detective 'Kubu' Bengu the central investigator (Kubu means hippopotamus in Setswana) and Detective Sergeant Joseph 'Tatwa' Mooka (Tatwa - Giraffe in the same language) are the main investigation team, working to solve the disappearance of one man and the killing of two others at the camp. The brutal death of Tinubu is the most baffling of the killings - despite having been declared dead many years ago during the Rhodesian war, he seems to have subsequently lead a blameless and quiet life as a much respected teacher in Botswana. The other two elements that firmly set this book in Africa are the terminology, and a quintessential use of pacing. Whilst the general pace of the book is rapidfire, and the investigation moves constantly forward, there is a wonderful feeling of slowing, of consideration, of reflection whenever Kubu appears in the narrative. There's something about the writing of this character that imparts a feeling of consideration, intelligence and thoughtfulness, a large man physically, Kubu doesn't rush around no matter how hectic an investigation gets. He thinks, he ponders, he eats (very well). Connections have to be drawn between Kubu and Hercule Poroit in the way that they both approach an investigation, Montalbano in the way that they both approach the next meal. Kubu has a family though, and when his beloved wife Joy and sister-in-law Patience are threatened as a result of this investigation, the reader sees a little more than his size as a link to his nickname. Kubu enraged must be a sobering sight! There is another level to A DEADLY TRADE and that is the glimpses into the ongoing effects of the Rhodesian War, the current day problems in Zimbabwe and the complicated relationship between that country, and the surrounding nations. There are also touches of the problems that beset all nations - drugs, violence and organised crime. The fallout from the Rhodesian War is something that greatly impacts on A DEADLY TRADE, and in the way of all very good story tellers, the implications of that are spelt out in the book without it being a lesson, rather it's a revelation.A DEADLY TRADE (as with the first book A CARRION DEATH) is just simply good crime fiction. The crime occurs within a social situation and in a social reality that impacts on the actions of everyone. Small events in the past don't necessarily go unforgotten, and brutality often engenders brutality. Adding an African situation to that scenario adds a new twist to the events, at the same time that it shows that human reactions are human reactions, the world over.Incidentally - there is a cast of characters at the front of the book to help if the unfamiliar names are phasing the reader, and a Glossary at the back which can help with understanding of some of the terminology. As part two in a series of books, it's often best if you've read the earlier book - so that you have a background to all the characters. Having said that, it would be possible to pick up A DEADLY TRADE and start - but that's no reason why you shouldn't also seek out A CARRION DEATH.

Review by

A Deadly Trade is the second title from the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip but my first to read. Essentially a police procedural, it is based in Botswana and features, as in the first book, the rather rotund food-loving Detective Kubu. The story centers around two murders committed in a tourist camp in northern Botswana close to the border with Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Local officer Tatwa Mooka calls on the help of the more experienced Kubu from the capital, Gaborone, but as the investigation proceeds the plot thickens. The fact that one of the recently murdered men has been dead for many years does not simplify matters. The book hints at Agatha Christie in fact, as each of the characters has his or her own secret, or so it seems, but it does too have action and, probably its strongest aspect, Botswana and the recent troubled history of the wider region at its centre. There are hints at drug-running, war crimes and political interference. The book in fact mixes the serious with the light, humour and light-heartedness being brought by Kubu, his demeanour, and his love of food and desire to consume biscuits at every opportunity. But he is too a strong and resolute officer, as his response to the threat to his family will testify. 'Kubu' in fact means 'Hippo' in Setswana, the language of Botswana.I found it hard to warm to this book, however; it felt overly long, the story didn't flow, there was a certain tedium in terms of detail, events being dragged out and indeed re-visited and re-capped. I was always conscious of it being the work of two authors, and reading it, it read like such. To my mind it needed some editorial intervention. In saying that, I found it hard to find a reviewer on the web who felt as I did about it! Botswana, if you are not already aware, is also the country in which the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, by Alexander McCall Smith, is based. If pressed as to which I preferred, McCall Smith would get my vote by some margin. Beware: this book is sold in the USA under the title 'Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu'.

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