A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
A Novel (Detective Emmanuel Cooper)

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Synopsis

Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.

In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it's not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.

When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn't interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won't be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and coloured residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined.

The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, A Beautiful Place to Die marks the debut of a talented writer who reads like a brilliant combination of Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. It is a tale of murder, passion, corruption, and the corrosive double standard that defined an apartheid nation. I
 

About Malla Nunn

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Malla Nunn was born in Swaziland, South Africa, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a filmmaker with three award-winning films to her credit and is currently at work on her next novel.
 
Published January 6, 2009 by Atria. 384 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Beautiful Place to Die

Kirkus Reviews

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A white police officer is mysteriously murdered on the South Africa-Mozambique border in 1952, shortly after the apartheid system has been put in place.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

Publishers Weekly

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Set in South Africa in 1952, Australian filmmaker Nunn’s stellar debut explores a divided society through the frame of a classic murder mystery. When Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper, Nunn’s t

Oct 27 2008 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

Entertainment Weekly

As Cooper moves from suspect to suspect, unearthing dirty secrets the townspeople would prefer be left buried, he butts up against racist Afrikaners, Zulu customs, and a pornography ring.

Dec 31 2008 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

Suite 101

Inspired by the life of Sudanese poet and lyricist Hassan Awad Aboulela, this story is an engaging look into family life and society in Sudan in the 1950s.

Nov 05 2008 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

USA Today

A screenwriter born in apartheid South Africa, Malla Nunn serves up the first book in a series starring Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper.

Mar 13 2013 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

Reviewing the Evidence

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Mar 13 2013 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

Portland Book Review

When head researcher Dr. Swenson, after a decade of study, refuses to come home, share her work, or even report back to her bosses, Dr. Eckman, is sent in after her.

Feb 14 2013 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

Chamber Four

In A Beautiful Place to Die, a Johannesburg detective, Emmanuel Cooper, travels into the “deep country” of South Africa to investigate a hoax in a small town called Jacob’s Rest.

Apr 28 2010 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

The Big Thrill

Her second novel – LET THE DEAD LIE – followed, and her third – BLESSED ARE THE DEAD (SILENT VALLEY in South Africa) – was released last June.

Dec 31 2012 | Read Full Review of A Beautiful Place to Die: A N...

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