BookBrowse Reviews A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn

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A Beautiful Place to Die

A Novel

by Malla Nunn

A Beautiful Place to Die
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jan 2009, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2009, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd

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A morally complex tale, first in a new mystery series, set in 1950s South Africa

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 triumph until ...

The Apartheid Laws at Play in A Beautiful Place to Die
Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, Act No 55 of 1949
Prohibited marriages between white people and black or colored people of other races. Between 1946 and 1949 only 75 mixed marriages were recorded, compared with 28,000 white marriages in total.

Immorality Amendment Act, Act No 21 of 1950
Prohibited adultery, attempted adultery or related immoral acts (such as extra-marital sex) between white and black or colored people.

Population Registration Act, Act No 30 of 1950
Instituted a national register in which every individual's race was recorded. In addition, a Race Classification Board was designed in order to make the final sign-off in disputed cases.

Suppression of Communism Act, Act No 44 of 1950
Outlawed communist activity and the Community Party in South Africa.

Natives (Abolition of Passes and Co-...

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