Previous reviews are at Mack Pitches Up

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How I Came to Appreciate South African Crime Fiction


Roger Smith's second novel, Wake Up Dead, came out today. Amazon is still excluding Macmillan books from direct sales and is listing it as currently unavailable. Oddly, they shipped my pre-order. How about supporting this author by visiting visit an indie book store or ordering a copy from Powell's Books or The Book Depository or Barnes and Noble or any non-Amazon source. The Book Depository has free shipping world-wide.

The arrival of Roger's book reminded me how the Internet can build connections and create interests. Had Roger not started following me on Twitter almost exactly a year ago I wouldn't have read his first novel,Mixed Blood, and wouldn't have spend hours looking at Cape town on Google Earth and reading background material on South Africa. I'm sure part of my interest comes from having lived in South Africa between 1952 and 1956 (ages 6 to 10) but it hadn't occurred to me that it is a source of so much good crime fiction.

The problem with wanting to read crime fiction from South Africa is availability in the U.S. In addition to Roger, I have discovered Deon Myer and Michael Stanley (Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip). The excellent blog Crime Beat has given me other authors I hope to read someday though with several I might have to learn Afrikaans first.

5 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Mack - I agree; the internet has opened up a whole world of crime fiction, hasn't it? I haven't gotten my coppy of Wake Up Dead yet, but I intend to; the very gracious Roger Smith and I have exchanged Twitter "follows," too, and I look forward to reading his work.

Bernadette in Australia said...

So far I've only discovered Deon Meyer (read one book and loved it, have 2 more waiting in the wings) but I have both Roger Smith and Michael Stanley books on my TBR pile for the Global Reading Challenge. And yes, all found through Crime Beat.

Given the period you lived in South Africa you might also enjoy Malla Nunn's A Beautiful Place to Die - she lives in Australia now but was born and grew up in Sth Africa and has set the book there - in the early 50's just as apartheid was being introduced. It's a brilliant book.

Dorte H said...

I will consider putting this one on my list for my global reading challenge.

Mack, could I ask you to pop in and take a look at my bait-in-the-box game today. You might be able to help :D

Maxine said...

I read a novel by Margie Orford recently (Like Clockwork) and reviewed it at Petrona (crime fiction alphabet, letter O, last week). It was not bad- very popular in her native country I believe. She has written two more since then - worth checking out her website.

I can also recommend the first "Michael Stanley" novel (the title escapes me but it features inspector Kubu) - very good South African/Botswanan setting. My review is at Euro Crime if you want to check out more.

Mack said...

Maxine, I'm reading the first Michael Stanley now - Carrion Death. I'm now consumed with the desire to make the drink favored by Kubu the detective, a steelworks. I requires that I find Rose's Kola tonic which I'll probably have to mail order.