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Mystery Books/mystery books set Botswana


QUESTION: Bruce remember when I asked for a series similar to The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith? Anything set in Africa like Botswana or Egypt or South Africa or any stand alone books would be great. Just anything that is a light read.

ANSWER: Hey, kristine:

   Of course I remember recommending the Alexander mcCall Smith books to you and will gladly suggest more series to you with similar settings.

  Suzanne Arruda writes excellent mysteries set in 1920s Africa with her heroine intrepid explorer, pilot and tour guide Jade del Cameron. These are truly excellent and i have eagerly consumed them all.
   Mark of the Lion (2006) ISBN 0-451-21748-9
   Stalking Ivory (2007) ISBN 0-451-22026-9
   The Serpent's Daughter (2008) ISBN 0-451-22294-6
   The Leopard's Prey (2009) ISBN 0-451-22586-4
   Treasure of the Golden Cheetah (2009) ISBN 0-451-22789-1
   The Crocodile's Last Embrace (2010) ISBN 0-451-23117-1

James McClure is an author and journalist who migrated to South America. His detective stories are an interesting blend of characterization between Afrikaner Lieutenant Tromp Kramer and Bantu Detective Sergeant Mickey Zondi.
   The Steam Pig (1971)
   The Caterpillar Cop (1972)
   The Gooseberry Fool (1974)
   Snake (1975)
   The Sunday Hangman (1977)
   The Blood of an Englishman (1980)
   The Artful Egg (1984)
   The Song Dog (1991)

Egypt- Barbara Mertz (pseud. Elizabeth Peters) has as her heroine, Amelia Peabody, an Egyptologist who is married and has a so named Ramses. The books are light and take place in 1920 Egypt when the country was being the most explored.

   Crocodile on the Sandbank. 1975. Covers the 1884–85 Season.[11]
   The Curse of the Pharaohs. 1981. Covers the 1892–93 Season.[11]
   The Mummy Case. 1985. Covers the 1894–95 Season.[11]
   Lion in the Valley. 1986. Covers the 1895–96 Season.[11]
   The Deeds of the Disturber. 1988. Covers Summer 1896.[11]
   The Last Camel Died at Noon. 1991. Covers the 1897–98 Season.[11]
   The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog. 1992. Covers the 1898–99 Season.[11]
   The Hippopotamus Pool. 1996. Covers the 1899–1900 Season.[11]
   Seeing a Large Cat. 1997. Covers the 1903–04 Season.[11]
   The Ape Who Guards the Balance. 1998. Covers the 1906–07 Season.[11]
   The Falcon at the Portal. 1999. Covers the 1911–12 Season.[11]
   He Shall Thunder in the Sky. 2000. Covers the 1914–15 Season.[11]
   Lord of the Silent. 2001. Covers the 1915–16 Season.[11]
   The Golden One. 2002. Covers the 1916–17 Season.[11]
   Children of the Storm. April 2003. Covers the 1919–20 Season.[11]
   Guardian of the Horizon. March 2004. Covers the 1907–08 Season.
   The Serpent on the Crown. March 2005. Covers the 1922 Season
   Tomb of the Golden Bird. March 2006. Covers the 1922–23 season.
   A River in the Sky. April 2010. Covers the 1909–1910 season in Palestine.

 Elspeth Huxley was an author , journalist, magistrate, environmentalist, farmer, and government adviser.She wrote three mysteries set in the are around Kenya in the1930s with the detective being the government officer,Superintendant Vachell, a Canadian thrust into East African society.

These books are as follows
Murder at Government House (1937)
Murder on Safari (1938)
Death of an Aryan (U.S.:The African Poison Murders) (1939)

Wessel Ebersohn is a writer who still lives in Cape Town. often his novels address apartheid and the devastation that originated from this colonialism.

 Abigail Bakula is a young lawyer in South Africa whose parents died at the hands of apartheid.

  I would recommend The October Killings (2011) and Those Who Love Night (2012)

 I hope this list will yield both books and series which you will enjoy. Again good hearing from you and I hope you are doing well.

Take care and be blessed,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: What about stand alone books?

Dear Kristine:

   Unfortunately most mysteries set in Botswana are part of a series, so stand alone books are very sparse.

   The ones I have found are these which I will suggest:

  The Other Four by Nsunguli Mbo-
   Ngano is hunting for rabbits in rural Botswana when two strange men kidnap him, but he manages to escape. He witnesses a murder while hiding from his kidnappers — and the murderer has seen him. The murderer puts the blame for the murder on Ngano. His wife and two children are missing. The villagers suspect he is involved in their disappearance. Alone and a wanted man, how far can he run? When he finally finds out who is after his life, the truth and betrayal will haunt him forever

 The Village Doctor- by Nsunguli Mbo- THE MARTYR You’re a doctor in a small village in rural Botswana. You decide to join politics. You form your own political party that promises to cater for the needs of villagers around the country. The villagers are encouraging and you have their undivided support. THE ENEMY But your opponent is a villain that would do anything to make sure he holds on to the council seat. THE STIGMA A child goes missing. The villagers are convinced you killed the child for ritual purposes. They don’t want you in their village anymore. Your opponent now has their full support. Your superstitious family have stigmatised. They believe your father’s death and your mother’s illness are a result of your political ambitions. Your life is in danger. And you’ve no one to turn to.

 The Missing Corpse- by Nsunguli Mbo-THE SECRET You’re a hard-working casual labourer digging a hole somewhere in rural Botswana. You find a human skeleton at the bottom of the hole. The skeleton brings back memories that you had long since forgotten about and would rather keep to yourself. THE BLACKMAIL But there are people who already know about the secret. And these people are out to blackmail you: you do as they say, or else they tell everyone about your secret. And they want more than you can afford.They turn you into a murderer. STUCK You can’t run because these people always find you no matter where you go. But you’re desperate because you want to feed your wife and children, who don’t know where you are. And anyone you turn to for help could be working with these people

 The Delta by Tony Park-Assassin-for-hire Sonja Kurtz is on the run. Kurtz, an ex-soldier turned mercenary, is given a high profile job--to kill the president of Zimbabwe. But it's a set up, the assassination attempt fails, Kurtz has been burned and her exfiltration plan are in ruins. Kurtz now heads for her only place of refuge, the Okavango Delta in the heart of Botswana. Determined to lay low and take it easy, Sonja discovers that her beloved Delta is on the brink of destruction. In a bid to halt a project that would destroy the Delta's fragile network of swamps and waterways, she is recruited as an 'eco-commando.'

Soon she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue as deadly as the one she left behind her. Caught between her ex-lover Sterling, Martin Steele, her mercenary commander, and a TV wildlife documentary host 'Coyote' Sam Chapman who blunders out of the bush in a reality show gone wrong. Instead of escaping her violent past, Sonja is now surrounded by men who are relying on her killer instincts. Having come to peace, she finds herself in the midst of a deadly war… and it is not only the survival of the Delta that is at stake.

Diamonds to Die For- by David Rudlin-In the basement vaults lie more than $8 billion worth of rough, uncut diamonds. Above, the most advanced security system in all of Europe. Yet somehow two men manage to break into the London headquarters of Delacroix – the most powerful diamond company the world has ever known – without being seen. Only one of them leaves. The other is found lying dead in a pool of blood, the sole clue to his identity a piece of paper with the words “REMEMBER GABORONE”. The search for answers takes Inspector Ian McLean of Scotland Yard to Botswana, South Africa, Antwerp, and the dark heart of the global diamond industry. Written by a former top executive for De Beers, Diamonds To Die For is a rare insider’s view of what lies behind the sparkle of a girl’s best friend

 Kristine, these are all of the Botswana stand alone mysteries which I could research.I hope this list is helpful for you.

I will add this one just because of the setting- Murder-London-South Africa by John Creasey- A VIP mysteriously disappears, and a diamond smuggling ring appears to be operating out of South Africa. Chief Superintendent Roger (‘Handsome’) West of Scotland Yard is sent out to investigate, but is lead into difficult and dangerous situations. Back at home, his dutiful and loving wife is worried – is he still as much in love with her and will his luck continue?. The setting of this book moves from London to Botswana to South Africa.

If you are in need of any other recommendation, please write me. it is always a pleasure to help you.

Be blessed as always,

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Bruce R Simon


I am able to answer most questions concerning the origin of the English mystery and police procedural. I also enjoy classic American detective stories(i.e. Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker, Sue Grafton). I also boast a sizable collection of techno-thrillers (i.e. Tom Clancy, Dale Brown) and global conspiracy novels( Robert Ludlum) as well


I was a Library Associate for close to thirty years for the Richmond Public Library with my expertise being Readers Advisory. I actually wrote a mystery story once which was not published but was an enjoyable undertaking

I was a freelance Book Critic for the Richmond Times Dispatch for 12 years ( submitting 122 reviews during that period. I also wrote book reviews for an independent local publication, Style Weekly, for three years and composed approximately 25 reviews.

I received a BA in English Litrature with a minor in Linguistics from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1976.

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