When a human skeleton is discovered at the site of a controversial new dam in remote northern Botswana, rookie Detective Kubu is drawn into a terrifying local feud, and discovers a deadly covenant that could change everything…
While building a pipeline near the Okavango Delta, a contractor unearths the remains of a long-dead Bushman. Rookie Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of Botswana CID and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor, are sent to investigate, and MacGregor discovers the skeletons of eight more men.
Shortly after the gruesome discoveries, the elder of a nearby village is murdered in his home. The local police are convinced it was a robbery, but Kubu isn’t so sure … and neither is the strange woman who claims that an angry river spirit caused the elder’s death.
As accusations of corruption are levelled and international outrage builds over the massacre of the Bushman families, Kubu and his colleagues uncover a deadly covenant, and begin to fear that their own lives may be in mortal danger…
Hi and welcome to my review of A Deadly Covenant!
A Deadly Covenant is the eighth instalment in the Detective Kubu series, but no worries if you want to jump in here, like last year’s Facets of Death, A Deadly Covenant is a prequel to the later books. While Facets of Death is referred to a couple of times, there are no spoilers, nor will you miss any vital information.
In A Deadly Covenant, we find Kubu still a little wet behind the ears and soon knee deep in skeletons that have been unearthed in the Botswana desert during a trenching operation. While he is trying to figure out what might have happened, one of the chief’s counsellors is murdered and Kubu can’t shake the feeling that local police just want to wrap up the case, pointing the finger at the first person who happens to be near. With multiple bodies found and quite a few recent murders as well, I felt it was nothing short of a miracle that the area was still populated, but it did make for very entertaining reading!
I first met Detective Kubu in Facets of Death and I fell in love with him right away. I love finding him here, still very much the rookie, learning as he goes, still quite idealistic, a fair and just man who genuinely wants to help people, even if that means going against the grain (and the local station commander).
As much as I love Kubu and as lovely as it is to try and help him solve murder mysteries (and believe you me, there were quite a few conundrums this time around!), my favourite part of this series is the setting. There is something unique and quite refreshing about a police procedural set in Botswana. I read my fair share of British and American crime and I love the huge contrast this series provides. In the middle of nowhere Botswana, it isn’t possible to bag the body and send it to the nearest mortuary right away. Instead it is hauled to the local butcher to spend the night in a cooler until it can be transported to the nearest city in the morning. Limited resources would be an understatement.
Moreover, A Deadly Covenant exudes a Botswana vibe throughout, thanks to topics like superstition and folklore, politics, and racism against Bushmen, and because the narrative is peppered with Setswana and Afrikaans. No worries though, the meaning of these words is always clear from the context and there is a glossary included as well should you need any further clarification.
If you’re new to the series, this is a great place to start and if you’ve read the previous books, you know you’re going to want to read this one. Recommended to fans of murder mysteries set off the beaten track.
A Deadly Covenant is out now in digital formats and will be out in paperback on 8 December. (Pre)order directly from Orenda Books here.
Thanks to Orenda Books for the eARC. All opinions are my own.