cover image The Scent of Oranges

The Scent of Oranges

Joan Zawatzky, . . Garev, $24.95 (375pp) ISBN 978-0-9707558-7-2

Linda Van Wyk, who left South Africa 19 years earlier to build a new life in Australia, returns in 2005 to her homeland to attend her father's funeral at the outset of Zawatzky's so-so debut, a family saga with a whodunit at its heart. In a letter he wrote the year before his death, Pa charges his daughter to look into the murder of her youngest brother, Hannes, who was savagely stabbed 40 years earlier as a teen. Though three black men confessed to the crime, Pa's revelation that they did so under duress leads her to question their guilt. As Linda attempts to honor her father's last request, she must also come to terms with the changes in South Africa since the end of apartheid. Predictable revelations, such as another sibling's affair, provide possible motives for the murder, but the amateur sleuthing won't impress many mystery fans. Readers may be more interested in the author's view of the altered roles of whites in the country they once dominated. (Oct.)