A Deadly Covenant by Michael Stanley

Title: A Deadly Covenant (Detective Kubu Mystery #8)

Author: Michael Stanley

Published on: 1 September 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural

Rating: 5 out of 5.

While building a pipeline for the Kgosi Rantao Irrigation Project, a contractor unearths the remains of a human. Rookie Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of Botswana CID and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor, are sent to investigate, and MacGregor discovers the skeletons of eight more men.

At the crime scene, Kubu and MacGregor meet two people – a man who claims the first body is that of his dead son and an old woman who claims the project has angered a river spirit named Mami Wata. As Kubu and MacGregor start to investigate, another murder shocks the village. This time, the victim is a member of the Kgosi’s counsellors.

A bushman appears at the place where the skeletal remains were found. He claims the remains are that of his ancestors and later, starts to sing and dance, invoking his ancestors’ spirits. The bushman collapses after hours of dancing and singing, only to be nursed initially by MacGregor and Kubu, and then at a local clinic.

Meanwhile, there are rumors of corruption at the Irrigation Project. There also seems to be an international outrage over the massacre of the Bushman families.

As accusations of corruption are levelled and international outrage builds over the massacre of the Bushman families, Kubu and his colleagues uncover a deadly covenant, and begin to fear that their own

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Michael Stanley is the writing partnership of two authors, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Michael lives in Johannesburg while Stanley lives in Minneapolis. A Deadly Covenant is the eighth book in Detective Kubu series. The series is set on Botswana and features Rookie Detective David ‘Kubu’ Bengu of Botswana CID and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor.

This is the first Detective Kubu book I read and definitely won’t be the last. I loved the setting and the characters. I am impressed!

Detective Kubu looks up to his boss Assistant Superintendent Mabaku as a mentor. The Shakawe Police are corrupt and want to end the case by arresting an innocent bushman. Kubu talks to his boss about this – he does not like an innocent and illiterate man, currently being tortured at the station, to be arrested for a crime he did not commit. I suppose I saw a bit of Robert Cromwell and Thomas Littlejohn in Kubu and Mabaku (respectively).

Kubu is not a corrupt policeman. He cares for people – and this is well depicted when he asks his boss if they could drop Selelo (the bushman who was falsely arrested) to his destination. Another character who caught my attention was Mme Zondo. She believes the river spirit, Mami Wata is angry. The Kgosi counsellors laugh at her idea of a spirit being responsible for the mishaps. I really loved the fact that Mme Zondo found herself close to nature and spirits. There’s so much that we humans do not know, isn’t it? What to believe and what not to believe is every individual’s choice. Nothing to be made fun of.

The mystery behind the unearthing of remains of 9 bushmen and the murder of a local man kept me guessing till the end. There’s also another interesting tidbit that piqued my curiosity. When the remains are unearthed and MacGregor is called to the scene, he says the skull is that of a bushman. He says, there are three human groups found in the area – Blacks, Whites and Bushman. He goes further to explain how each group has different facial features.

Tension and suspense is at all all-time high in the second half of the story. The detectives uncover a well-hidden secret – something to do with bushmen and the locals. The ending – goodness, I never the twist coming! I did not imagine this particular person would go to any extent to keep their secret… a secret.

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. If you are looking for a unique, engrossing and entertaining mystery set in Botswana, I recommend you to give A Deadly Covenant by Michael Stanley a try.


I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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