Let the Dead Lie
Durban, South Africa, 1953: Forced to resign from his position of Detective Sergeant and re-classified as 'mixed race' after an incident involving a young black woman, Emmanuel Cooper winds up powerless and alone in the tough coastal city of Durban, mixing labouring with surveillance work for his old boss, Major van Niekerk. Patrolling the freight yards one night, he stumbles upon the body of a young white boy and the detective in him cannot, or will not, walk away. When two more bodies - this time an older English woman and her maid - are discovered at his boarding house, he unwittingly becomes the prime suspect in a triple murder case. At van Niekerk's behest, Cooper is given 48 hours to clear his name and - unofficially - solve the three murders. And so, temporarily back to being a European Detective Sergeant, he descends into Durban's seedy underworld, a vipers' nest of prostitution, drug running and violence run by Indian gangsters. To solve the crimes and save his own skin, he must place his trust in a mysterious figure who drives a white De Soto convertible, a Zion Gospel preacher, and the exquisite yet streetwise Lana, who also happens to be van Niekerk's mistress..
Malla Nunn is the author of A Beautiful Place to Die.