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Monday, May 13, 2013

Witchcraft and Detective Work

Michael Stanley’s latest African police mystery

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In contemporary sub-Saharan Africa, traditional witch doctors remain feared and powerful members of many communities, and Botswana, the site of a new book by Michael Stanley, is no different. In Deadly Harvest, David Bengu, known as Kubu (translation: hippopotamus), is a man of substantial girth and sharp police skills whose years of experience on the force are about to be put to their greatest test yet. Samantha Khama is a new detective, out of place as a woman in a man’s world and extremely eager to prove herself. When she volunteers for a cold case involving the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl, Khama finds herself with more than she bargained for and enlists the help of seasoned detective Kubu in her investigation.

Soon the pair is tracking a series of possible murders that may be connected to muti, a traditional African potion used by witch doctors and said to be made more virile by adding human remains. Superstition and witchcraft are at the center of this gritty mystery that provides a stunning portrait of modern-day Africa through its complex plotlines and intriguing characters.

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both are natives of Johannesburg, South Africa who created the Kubu detective series in 2008. Sears currently lives in Johannesburg and Trollip splits time between South Africa and Minneapolis. The writing duo will speak at Books & Company in Oconomowoc on Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m.

 

Book Happenings

Jerry Apps

2 p.m., May 19

Books & Company

1039 Summit Ave., Oconomowoc

Wisconsin writer Jerry Apps explores life in the Great Depression in his epistolary novel, Letters from Hillside Farm. The letter writer, 12-year old George, is a Cleveland kid forced to move to the Wisconsin countryside when his dad loses his job. George must adjust to life without indoor plumbing but tries to enjoy the experience as a great adventure.

 

Janet I. Award

6 p.m., May 20

Stackner Cabaret, 108 E. Wells St.

Janet Martin, who passed away last year, was a Whitefish Bay public school teacher whose enthusiasm for literature inspired several generations of young writers. Finalists for the Martin Award include four area high school teachers, Katie Delutio, Robin Harris, Maeve McFadden and Jennifer Nichols.