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Blessed Are the Dead (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #3)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  605 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper returns in this powerful, atmospheric novel about two communities forced to confront each other after a murder that exposes their secret ties and forbidden desires in apartheid South Africa, by award-winning author Malla Nunn.

The body of a beautiful seventeen-year-old Zulu girl, Amahle, is found covered in wildflowers on a hillside in the
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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Apr 21, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing
When Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper along with Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala was sent from Durban to the Drakensberg Mountains by Colonel van Niekerk to investigate a murder, they had no idea it would lead them deep into the racial wars between the black and white communities in the area. The beautiful Zulu teenager, seventeen year old Amahle looked almost like she was sleeping; covered in wildflowers with a blanket for her pillow. But Cooper knew she was dead; the wailing of the wome ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
After finishing Let The Dead Lie I was eager to dive into Silent Valley, the third installment of Malla Nunn's Detective Emmanuel Copper series set in Southern Africa in the 1950's. Silent Valley picks up a short time after Let The Dead Lie ends with Emmanuel on his first real case since being reinstated to the force. Along with Native Constable Samuel Shabalala, Colonel van Niekerk has sent Emmanuel to a small rural town where a homicide has been reported, what they find is the posed body of a ...more
May 22, 2012 Viccy rated it really liked it
Emmanuel Cooper has worked his way back into the good graces of the Johannesburg, South Africa C.I.D. Cooper is awakened in the middle of the night by a phone call from his boss, sending him out into the veldt to investigate a murder. Turns out the murdered girl is the daughter of a Zulu chief who expected her to fetch a good bride price. As Emmanuel investigates, he determines the dead girl had many enemies. Soon, another dead body turns up and the hunt intensifies. This is a very interesting s ...more
The Emmanuel Cooper books by Malla Nunn, set in 1950's South Africa, are another excellent series in what is luckily now becoming a bigger range of crime fiction set in various parts of Africa. SILENT VALLEY (aka BLESSED ARE THE DEAD) is the third book now, centred around Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper, a policeman with plenty of demons from his past. Knowing that his past is closely intertwined with a society based on Apartheid will help the reader understand some of the difficulties that C ...more
Book Him Danno
Aug 12, 2012 Book Him Danno rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. As an avid reader of police procedurals I am always on the lookout for a great series and Malla Nunn has really delivered with Blessed are the Dead. A beautiful Zulu girl has been found dead in the remote farming country of 1950’s apartheid South Africa and our troubled white police detective, with his native partner in tow, has been sent to dig in to the case.

The crime scene offers up very few clues, but just enough information for our team to start asking questions.
Jan 22, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zz2016-read
Silent Valley is a very intriguing novel and explores many different issues. I have to admit though that the underlying politics and uncooperative nature of most of the characters in this book became very frustrating to me. I honestly cannot fathom what it would have been like to live in a world like this one and the segregation issues and corrupt nature of almost everyone really did sadden me after a while.
The main character, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is an interesting character and w
Kwei Quartey
Oct 02, 2012 Kwei Quartey rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing new novel from Malla Nunn, author of A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE. When the body of a lovely seventeen-year-old is found in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and Detective Constable Samuel Shabalaba are sent to the stark area to investigate.

Set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, the Detective Cooper series is quite unique. Malla's writing soars with each successive novel. I wish I could come up with some of her visual metaphors in my o
Apr 18, 2014 Yasmin rated it liked it
I have to say this straight away when I picked up the book I didn't know it was a detective/mystery story. I generally steer clear of those as I have mentioned in a previous review the storylines are always the same. This one wasn't part of the usual pattern altogether, however, it's still a mystery to me is how I find a character in the book suspicious and the detective and sidekick doesn't. I suppose that is why the genre can be "mystery" what happens to the characters isn't a mystery it's how ...more
Rita	 Marie
Mar 30, 2013 Rita Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: read-mysteries
Had I known this book was set in 1953 I probably would not have snatched it off the library shelves. Recent history is extremely difficult to do well. Too many people still around who know what it was really like then; authors have trouble capturing the "feel" of the times. Same issue with this story.

The plot is excellent, the descriptions stellar, and the characters good although a bit wooden. Each person seems to represent a situation more than an actual, fully rounded person. The protagonist
Pamela Mclaren
Jun 05, 2016 Pamela Mclaren rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Another amazing story by Malla Nunn that shares so much about the culture and history of South Africa. In this story, Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper and Det. Constable Samuel Shabalala are sent out to solve the murder of a 17-year-old Zulu girl, the daughter of a chief who worked at a white owned farm. Almost right from the start Cooper finds problems: although the girl was reported missing, the local police did not react or even note her disappearance; her father seems more concerned about the loss ...more
May 19, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it
Another great installment in Malla Nunn's series about a lonely detective, Emmanuel Cooper and his sidekick Zulu detective Samuel Shabalala. Reinstated to the force, Cooper and Shabalala investigate a black on black crime in the scenic mountains beyond Durban. After solving the mystery of a murdered Zulu girl and boy, Cooper solves a mystery in his own life and sets out at the end to act on it. I hope this is expanded in the next book in the series, which I won't wait long to read.
Good solid crime story but not as thrilling as the first one (though much less gruesome than the second one, Let The Dead Lie, so I appreciated that).
Apr 04, 2016 Harriet rated it really liked it
It was another well plotted addition to Malla Nunn's Emmanuel Cooper's series. She writes very well and the information about the Zulu culture is very interesting. The characters are well drawn and it's good to meet the major players again.
Jul 22, 2014 Kimberlee rated it it was ok
Egh, diminishing returns - liked this one even less than the 2nd one. 1st book is still definitely the best. Not giving up, though - the 4th one in this series has just been published in the US this year
May 29, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing
Very good, loved all the details!
Feb 28, 2017 Lars rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, africa
I was very impressed by the first book of the series and I liked the second novel. With the third case of Emmanuel Cooper, the author returns to the countryside. Again, Malla Nunn does very well in giving a vivid and scenic description of South Africa in the 1950s. Even better, her style of writing improved – I criticized the first book for being too redundant in some parts. That changed for good in this novel, while the author preserved her other strengths - for example the skilled description ...more
Rogue Reader
May 19, 2012 Rogue Reader rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-africa
Blessed are the Dead is Malla Nunn's best work to date. Detective Emmanuel Cooper and Constable Shabalala are back to investigate the death of a breathtakingly beautiful Zulu woman.

Set in Apartheid South Africa, European and Africans don't mix, and the racism of the times pervades every aspect of the work. It's disturbing to read of the codification of racism, the structure and ridgid rules both written and unwritten that must be observed. Cooper and Shabalala are an unusual team, and unusual fr
Jul 10, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
This is the 3rd book in the detective Emmanuel Cooper series. Malla Nunn's books provide a great sense of time and place, and as you read the unraveling of some very intriguing mysteries you also learn much of the racial and class differences enforced by law with the beginning of apartheid. Such prejudices were widely held before the legal system forbade any mixing of black and white people, and the white citizens got all the privileges and the black could not hope for anything more tha
May 16, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Malla Nunn
From the author of a Beautiful Place to Die and Let the Dead Lie, this is the next episode in the life of Detective Emmanuel Cooper. Set in South Africa in the early 1950’s, Nunn has created a character that fits this place and time. Apartheid is the law of the day, and the line drawn between Blacks and Whites is distinct, unwavering and often brutal. The strength of it is a character as big as any other. It affects every action and every decision made by the people
Jul 02, 2012 Roslyn rated it it was amazing
Blessed Are the Dead
By Malla Nunn

Malla Nunn is an excellent storyteller. "Blessed Are the Dead" is the third novel with the tenacious, honest and fair Emmanuel Cooper. Emmanuel doesn’t bend the rules; he tramples them in his quest for justice.

Detective Sergeant Cooper and Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala are sent to the desolate area of the Drakensberg Mountains in the Natal Midlands. Zulu tribes, Afrikaans and transplanted English who think of themselves as the aristocrats of South Africa,
Hana Howard
Oct 04, 2012 Hana Howard rated it it was amazing
Malla Nunn is an excellent storyteller. Blessed Are the Dead is the third novel with the tenacious, honest and fair Emmanuel Cooper. Emmanuel doesn’t bend the rules; he tramples them in his quest for justice.

Detective Sergeant Cooper and Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala are sent to the desolate area of the Drakensberg Mountains in the Natal Midlands. Zulu tribes, Afrikaans and transplanted English who think of themselves as the aristocrats of South Africa, inhabit this area. The body of a be
May 10, 2012 Terry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, first-reads
A GREAT who-dunnit with lots and lots of twists!

Set in 1953 South Africa, this book features the sleuthing skills of Durban’s Detective Sergeants Emmanuel Cooper and Samuel Shabalala (a Shangaan Zulu with a gift for tracking). The pair are sent from Durban to a remote area four hours away, to investigate the cause of death of a young Zulu girl found near an English farm.

The detectives quickly learn that the 17-year old victim, Amahle, was not just any girl, but the stunningly beautiful daughte
Blessed are the Dead finds DS Emmanuel Cooper and DC Samuel Shabalala traveling to the tiny town of Roselet where the body of an young Zulu girl named Amahle Matebula has been found covered in wildflowers on a hillside in the Drakensberg Mountains, halfway between her father’s kraal and the Afrikaner farm where she worked as a maid. Her family, headed by a chieftain with five wives, demands the release of her body from the local medical office and the doctor refuses to have anything to do with a ...more
Gloria Feit
Nov 14, 2012 Gloria Feit rated it it was amazing

The iconoclastic South African detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper returns in this excellent third installment in the series, replete with poignant observations on the effects of the rigid apartheid system in the country in 1953. Cooper, who remains in the dog house for past transgressions, is plucked by his superior to solve a murder in an attempt to resurrect his status.

Accompanied by black Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala, he finds the body of a 17-year-old Zulu girl, daughter of a chief.
May 17, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This mystery is set in post-WWII South Africa, specifically the countryside outside of Durban, so it is full of apartheid detail. The main plot deals with the death of a Zulu chief's daughter and Nunn does a good job of packing the story with potential murderers. the detective sergeant, Emmanuel Cooper, has a suitably troubled past, which makes it easy tounderstand why he operates mostly as an otusider. I enjoyed this book, especially the detail about the layers of behavior between Afrikaaners a ...more
Jan 22, 2013 Tinika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, 2016
Blessed Are the Dead is set in South Africa in 1953. I was entranced with the detectives that Malla Nunn has created, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala, and with the strong female characters she has placed in every ethnic group. On one level, the book is a solid police procedural. The two detectives have been sent out to the hinterlands to investigate the murder of a teenage Zulu girl. It is, also, a study of the inter-dependency of the classes in this r ...more
Nov 04, 2016 Meryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: Silent Valley Malla Nunn Oct 2016

I really enjoyed this thriller set in South Africa. I thought A Beautiful Place to Die was a fast paced, atmospheric read and this novel echoed it. Nunn is back on form after the disappointing Let the Dead Lie.
We are back in the company of the handsome (soulfully broken) Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper again, when he is given a chance to redeem himself (again) following his many personal and professional indiscretions. The plot takes him to Roselet, where the b
Rob Kitchin
Apr 10, 2016 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
Blessed are the Dead is the third book in the Emmanuel Cooper series set in 1950s South Africa. Nunn has really hit her stride in this instalment, both adding to the overall story arc of Cooper’s life and providing a thoroughly engaging mystery. The characterisation is excellent, especially Cooper and his colleague Shabalala, but also the supporting cast, particularly Gabriel a white boy who is totally at home in the bush, and Nunn nicely portrays their interactions and social relations. Indeed, ...more
Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper appears to be a white South African policeman. However, though his status as mixed-race is not obvious, still he must carefully maneuver around the socio-political traps set for the unwary in apartheid South Africa. The author deftly weaves these into the mysterious case of the murder of a Zulu chief’s daughter in the mountainous region north of Durban.
Cooper is accompanied by his Zulu friend and colleague, Det. Constable Shabalala. Their respect for each othe
Jun 29, 2012 Tuck rated it liked it
Shelves: south-africa, noir
yebo, inoki, this is pretty good police procedural so far, i got a feeling after the first sentence "i woke up to my front door being kicked in" but it was just a bad dream, that there's gonna be some fucked up shit in this malla nunn's 3 novel.

perhaps the weakest of malla nunn's 3 mystery/police procedural novels but that said there is still lots of atmosphere and much more in-depth integration of zulu culture into the story, but not as much rabid racism of the ruling white as in her past 2 nov
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Malla Nunn grew up in Swaziland before moving with her parents to Perth in the 1970s. She attended university in WA and then in 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 ...more
More about Malla Nunn...

Other Books in the Series

Detective Emmanuel Cooper (4 books)
  • A Beautiful Place to Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #1)
  • Let The Dead Lie (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #2)
  • Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)

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