In Nunn’s superlative fourth mystery set in 1950s South Africa (after 2012’s Blessed Are the Dead), a murder case puts Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper, a mixed-race Johannesburg cop, in a difficult position. A savage break-in at the house of Ian Brewer, a high school principal, has left Brewer dead, his wife nearly so. The white couple’s 15-year-old daughter, Cassie, who escaped unscathed, asserts that she can identify the two attackers by their voices: black students who participated in an extracurricular program run by her father, one of whom, Aaron Shabalala, is the son of Det. Constable Samuel Shabalala of the Native Branch, a friend of the detective’s. Emmanuel is convinced that Cassie is lying, but his supervisor isn’t, making the search for the real killers especially urgent. Nunn’s descriptions of the impoverished township where the suspects live are particularly moving, but the true toll of apartheid is conveyed effectively throughout. Agent: Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/28/2014 Release date: 06/03/2014 Genre: Fiction
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