Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Together they have created the wonderful character of Botswana CID Detective David Bengu, known by all as “Kubu” which is the Setswana word for hippopotamus. The hippo is large, appears calm and docile but is in reality quite dangerous. Kubu is also large and he is also quite deceptive. For his calm, unassuming manner hides a mind that is quick. And, like the hippo he is resolute in purpose.
This is the third novel to feature Kubu. If it is possible, each book is better than the last. I say, “If it is possible” because they are all close to perfect. They bring to life the amazing country of Botswana and all its varied people; the whites, the Africans, the Afrikaners and the Bushmen.
It is the Bushmen that Kubu is concerned with in this novel. A park ranger is found dying in a ravine, in the Kalahari, by a co-worker looking for him. Three Bushmen surround the dying man; one of them appears to be trying to give the man water. The Detective Sergeant sent to investigate is convinced the Bushmen must be involved in the murder. The CID Director dispatches Kubu to watch over the case in order to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Kubu needs all of his wits and his strength, both physical and mental, to survive and solve the case following two more deaths.
Death of the Mantis is immensely satisfying. The mystery, itself, is well-constructed. The characters are deeply developed and very real.
Botswana is large. It would cover Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio and a good part of Indiana. So there is lots of room for more than one detective and the Michael Stanley team does a gracious salute to Botswana’s other famous detective when Kubu is considering resigning after his experience and his superior says to him, “Drink to whatever you are going to be in the future. Security guard? Private eye? The Number One Man’s Detective Agency?” ( )