Let the Dead Lie: Book summary and reviews of Let the Dead Lie by Malla Nunn

Let the Dead Lie

A Novel

By Malla Nunn

Let the Dead Lie
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2010,
    400 pages.

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Book Summary

South Africa, 1953. The National Party's rigid race laws have split the nation and a grueling poverty grips many on the edges of its society. When former Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper stumbles across the body of a child, Jolly Marks, at the Durban docks, he can little imagine what the discovery will lead him to. Trying to resist his instinct to pursue the truth behind this terrible crime - his life fell apart following his last investigation - Cooper decides to leave this one to the proper authorities. But the trouble is, someone in the shadows has rather different ideas ...Soon Cooper finds himself under suspicion for not only Jolly's murder, but others as well. The only way he can clear his name is to find out who the real killer was - and he's got forty-eight hours to do it in. Assisted by his former boss, Van Nierkerk - a man forever on the lookout for a way to advance his own cause - and Van Nierkerk's beautiful, enigmatic mistress Lana, Cooper's investigations will lead him into Durban's murky underworld of pimps, prostitutes, strange, sinister preachers, and those on the wrong side of the race laws. He will discover new enemies and be reunited with old friends. And before long, Cooper will find that there is more to Jolly's barbaric murder than he could ever have realized...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Nunn deftly balances suspense and deduction as she offers a revealing glimpse into South African society under the segregation laws promulgated by the ruling National Party." - Publishers Weekly

"Casual and institutional racism form a fascinating backdrop for the action, giving readers a feel for how apartheid actually looked and felt to those on both sides of the color line." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Malla Nunn Author Biography

Malla Nunn grew up in Swaziland before moving with her parents to Perth in the 1970s. She attended university in Western Australia, and then the US. In New York, she worked on film sets, wrote her first screenplay, and met her American husband-to-be, before returning to Australia, where she began writing and directing short films and corporate videos.

Fade to White, Sweetbreeze and Servant of the Ancestors have won numerous awards and have shown at international film festivals from Zanzibar to New York. Malla and her husband live in Sydney with their two children.

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  • A Beautiful Place to Die jacket
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