Malla Nunn's experience as a filmmaker shines through her debut novel, the
first in a planned series. Her penchant for story-telling and poignant dialogue
keep the reader captivated through this suspenseful thriller. Detective Sergeant
Emmanuel Cooper is sent to investigate the murder of white policeman Captain
Pretorius in the racially divided town of Jacob's Rest, in the North-East of
South Africa (map) close to the Mozambique border. Set in 1952, just after the
institution of new apartheid laws, the story is mired in racial complexity. Nunn
explores the deep layers of tension stewing among the black, colored and
Afrikaner residents, adding to the pot Jews, Englishmen and Dutchmen as further
complicating factors to blur the line between the oppressed and the oppressors.
Detective Cooper steals our hearts from the first, and has us desperate for his...
Beyond the Book
Apartheid (meaning separateness
in Afrikaans*) was a system of legal
racial segregation enforced by the National Party government of South Africa
between 1948 and 1990.
The new system was a way for the white Afrikaner National Party to ensure
their control over both South Africa's economy and social structure. The key was
white dominance of blacks and colored
(mixed descent) people. Apartheid was born as a political tactic but grew
to involve violence and extreme strife.
The apartheid laws were officially enacted in 1948, four years before the events
told in A Beautiful Place to Die
. Racial discrimination became not simply
a mechanism engrained in local customs, but part and parcel of the government....