'In the tiny South African town of Jacob's Rest, Detective Emmanuel Cooper is sent to investigate the murder of an Afrikaner police officer, Captain Willem Pretorius.
'Cooper, an "English" South African, is viewed with suspicion by both the Boer Afrikaners and the dead man's prominent family, and his investigation is quickly taken over by Security Branch. But Cooper isn't interested in political expediency, or making friends in high places, and as he pursues his own inquiry, he discovers that Captain Pretorius had led a deadly double life.
'The more Cooper digs, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. For Cooper is a man with his own secrets, and learning the truth about Captain Pretorius just might save life... if he isn't killed first.
'In this riveting debut, Malla Nunn combines a thrilling, action-packed story with a thoughtful, complex portrayal of an unforgettable time and place and the human desires that drive us all, regardless of race, colour or creed.' (Publisher's blurb)
'In Let the Dead Lie, Cooper is a changed man. Forced to resign from his position of Detective Sergeant and re-classified as mixed race, he winds up powerless and alone in the tough coastal city of Durban, mixing labouring with a bit of surveillance work for his old boss, Major van Niekerk.
'Patrolling the freight yards one night, Cooper stumbles upon the body of a young white boy and, the detective in him can not, or will not, walk away. When two more bodies - this time black women - are discovered at his boarding house, he unwittingly becomes the prime suspect in a triple murder case.
'At van Niekerk's behest, Cooper's given 48 hours to clear his name and - unofficially - solve the three murders. And so, temporarily back to being a European Detective Sergeant, he launches headlong into Durban's seedy underworld, a viper's nest of prostitution, drug running and violence run by a colourful cast of characters including wannabe Indian gangsters; a mysterious figure who drives a white De Soto convertible; a Zion Gospel preacher, and the exquisite yet streetwise Lana, who also happens to be van Niekerk's mistress...'
'Set in the corrupt, unforgiving world of apartheid South Africa, the sensational new novel in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series follows Cooper as he faces a test of loyalty and friendship.
'Six days before Christmas, Cooper sits at his desk at Johannesburg’s Marshall Square station, ready for his holiday in Mozambique. A call comes in: a respectable, white couple has been beaten and left for dead in their bedroom. The couple’s teenage daughter identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala – the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala – Cooper’s best friend and a man to whom he owes his life.
'The Detective Branch isn’t interested in evidence that might contradict their star witness’s story – especially so close to the holidays. Determined to ensure justice for Aaron, Cooper, Shabalala and their trusted friend Dr Daniel Zweigman hunt down the truth. Their investigation uncovers a violent world of Sophiatown gangs, thieves and corrupt police detectives who will do anything to keep their dark world intact . . .' (Publication summary)