A Carrion Death - Michael Stanley I read elsewhere that the author is really the joint venture of two different people, and this explained my sense of distinctness of two separate plot lines, one related to westerners and their obsession with diamonds and money, the other a much more African viewpoint. Nevertheless, the book works well and was a very enjoyable listen, well read.

Detective Kubu (Swahili dialect for hippopotamus, his nickname) is a sort of fat Columbo. He's extremely likable, the assistant superintendent of police in Gaborone, sings opera in his car, loves his wife (the scenes where he and Joy visit his relatives is very entertaining in its apparently authentic formalistic dialogue between father and son,) and is very wily and smart. I love characters who appear somewhat bumbling or unattractive on the surface, but who have a core of competence and character. Kubu fits that bill nicely. His nickname is appropriate not only for his appearance but also because the hippopotamus is one of the most feared animals in Africa, extremely dangerous when challenged.

Recounting the plot would be spoiling and redundant. Suffice it to say the contrast between a very professional African society with the European BCMC diamond owners is instructive. The ending becomes a bit chaotic as things begin to unravel for the bad guys/gals. Those looking for a pure version of one of those genres will be disappointed, but I did not find the mixture distracting.

It's impossible not to think of Alexander Smith's Ladies Detective Agency series while reading this, but they are similar only in geography. Both authors clearly love Africa in general; and Botswana in particular.

Interview with the authors at http://www.onceuponacrimebooks.com/stanley.html