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Death of the Mantis (Detective Kubu #3)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  486 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
“The best book yet in one of the best series going: a serious novel with a mystery at its core that takes us places we’ve never been.”
—Timothy Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong

Mystery readers who have not yet made the acquaintance of larger than life African investigator Detective David “Kubu” Bengu are doing themselves a great disservice. Death of the Mantis is th
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Harper Perennial (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 853)
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Sep 09, 2011 Nadia rated it did not like it

Alright, so I'm going to be honest and admit that I signed up for this tour, because I wanted to read a book that I thought would be similar to one of my all time favorite series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Let me just say, I didn't get what I wished for. Instead of being carried away by the engaging voice of a lovable character like Mma. Ramotswe, I was introduced to Kubu. He's the detective trying to solve the murder of Monzo, a ranger whose body was found sur
Aug 07, 2011 Patricia rated it it was amazing
David “Kubu” Bengu is assistant superintendent in the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. David received the nickname of Kubu a long time ago and it stuck. Kubu means Jolly Hippo and David is large, does enjoy his food, and has a happy disposition but he is also a very intelligent person with the uncanny ability to sort out clues and come to the proper conclusion when faced with a crime.

Southern Africa is the setting for the Kubu books and offers many interesting facts about Africa and i
Kathleen Hagen
Death of the Mantis, by Michael Stanley, a-minus, Talking Book borrowed from the National Library Services for the Blind

This is the third in the Detective Kubu series from Botswana. In this book, Detective Kubu is sent to investigate the murder of a man. He and the police have difficulty finding any leads, but they do find out who the man was. He had been hired by a diamond company to track down where materials were being taken from the company and who was stealing them. The company suspected th
Sep 08, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing

I always have a book with me and, often, when I am asked about the book and I mention the title, the author, and the genre, the response is, “I don’t read mysteries. I don’t like Agatha Christie.” Fact is, I don’t like Agatha Christie. If that style was all there is in mystery, I wouldn’t be reading mysteries either but the popularity of the genre shows that most readers do know how far mysteries have come, incorporating societal problems into stories, making them more believable and more though
Jul 31, 2012 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I enjoyed reading about a place I have never read about before. The setting is both beautiful and terrifying. Detective Kubu is a 300 pound African who is a little lazy but very sharp. At first it was hard to imagine such a large man in such hot weather, I kept picturing him thinner. But once I got used to it, he is perfect. It sets him apart like Poirot with his idiosyncracies. I only gave the book three stars when I reviewed it for the summer reading program at the library, but now when I thin ...more
Emily Crow
Average mystery, great setting--the Kalahari was described so well, I felt like I'd actually been there.
Dana Stabenow
Feb 19, 2015 Dana Stabenow rated it liked it
Read this book just for the scene, Botswana and the Kalahari Desert, and nothing else, and you'll be happy.
Lee Thompson
Dec 11, 2012 Lee Thompson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
Loved it! This is the third in the Detective Kubu series, and the best so far. Of course, it's built on the first two books and that gives it an unfair advantage. Great characters, terrific mystery, tons of textures and great suspense. Go check out the series!
Jun 20, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
I gave this one four stars. It was a good mystery with a clever plot and I really enjoyed the setting. I just didn't find myself as emotionally engaged as I like to be. Kubu was a good sleuth but he's no Jim Chee and he's no Mma Ramatswe.
Feb 07, 2014 adcash rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it
This is the darkest of the Kubu series so far. A park ranger is found dead surrounded by three Bushmen who claim only to be trying to help. However, their arrest takes Kubu into a complicated case involving a childhood Bushman friend, racial prejudice, promise of hidden riches, more killings and ultimately Kubu's own survival. Michael Stanley does an excellent job providing the cultural, geographical and historical aspects of the setting along with a complicated mystery to try and solve. Likewis ...more
Anirban Das
Dec 12, 2014 Anirban Das rated it liked it
Once again, while searching for another entry into my self created challenge of reading new authors in 2014, I came across the writer duo of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, who collectively writes crime fiction under the name of Michael Stanley, featuring the Botswana Policeman, Detective David Bengu nicknamed Kubu (Hippopotamus in the Setswana language) for his size.

Set in the southern African nation of Botswana (home of another very famous series created by Alexander McCall Smith) THE DEAT
Apr 06, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it
I read the first book in this series about a year ago (audiobook, actually). I liked it, but I wasn't anxious to read the other books. This book was 99 cent Kindle special, so I decided to go for it. I definitely liked this book more. This book has stronger characters and plot development. In particular, the lead detective Kubu (hippopotamus in Setswana) is a compelling, and well-developed character here. After finishing this book, I found myself thinking for a moment that I could see him as a r ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Trish rated it really liked it
This is the best of the Stanley mysteries I have read: they just keep getting better.

Set in a Botswana that we have become familiar with through the Alexander McCall-Smith series THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY, this mystery has the same gentle feel of McCall-Smith’s. The big, lumbering detective Kubu is not a hardnose, but he gets the job done with compassion and consideration, though he nearly bites the biscuit himself in this installation.

The Kalahari landscape is desert and brutally hot--
Ryan G
Aug 26, 2015 Ryan G rated it liked it
Shelves: no-longer-own
I'm still not sure how I'm getting myself into these situations, actually I do know the reason. It's simple actually. I don't due my research before I agree to review a book, at least I don't do it well enough. How else do you explain my penchant for reviewing books that are actually somewhere in the middle of series. It is simply that I'm a mystery junkie who takes any opportunity he can to read a good one? Do I enjoy reading said book and liking it so much that I feel compelled to go back and ...more
Oct 24, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DEATH OF THE MANTIS is the third book in the Detective David 'Kubu' Bengu series from writing duo Stanley Trollip and Michael Sears, under the pen name of Michael Stanley. (For those that haven't read this series 'Kubu' means hippopotamus which is a commentary on Bengu's size.) I remember, before this book was completed, the authors explaining the life and plight of the Bushman, a race of people who come from the Kalahari Desert, who traditionally live a nomadic, simple existence with their own ...more
Gloria Feit
Feb 25, 2012 Gloria Feit rated it it was amazing
The title is derived from the symbol, a praying mantis, of the People, the “Bushmen” of Botswana, the setting for this, the third Detective Kubu mystery. Kubu, the nickname for David Bengu, assistant superintendent of the CID, means hippo, which describes his girth. Now a father, Kubu faces the challenges of protecting his family from the dangers of his profession and the love of his job.

And no greater tests confront him than those in this novel. Initially, Kubu faces a relatively simple case: A
Nov 23, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-botswana
Murders and betrayal in the Kalahari Desert play out for Kubu in this rather thrilling mystery that invokes Tony Hillerman and his themes of indigenous dignity and the sacredness of land. We have gem seeking white men, condescending blacks, and beleaguered bushmen all combining in a volatile brew of deception and suspense. While hunting a murderer the police stumble across another body. Bias against the bushmen has them as the ususal suspects. Kubu gets involved due to politics and is off to Nam ...more
May 17, 2013 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Although it's not the first Lt. Kubu mystery, it's the first I've read, because it was on sale one day at the Kindle store. I'll certainly be reading more. Set in Botswana, a largely Black African-run country which also has white residents and Bushmen, this book explores the tensions between the Bushmen and the majority of somewhat Westernized blacks in the country.
Lt. Kubu (a nickname meaning "hippo" in the Setswana language) is a new father in this story, torn between the demands of his job an
Cathy Cole
Aug 26, 2011 Cathy Cole rated it it was amazing
First Line: The desert glowed in the dawn light.

In this wonderful third entry in the Detective Kubu mystery series set in Botswana, Detective David Bengu (call him Kubu, please) finds himself torn between the orders of his superior officer and the request of a beloved childhood friend.

As little boys, Kubu and his Bushman schoolmate Khumanego are the ones who are "different"-- the outsiders. As a result, they became close friends. Once they left school, however, they lost track of each other, so
The third offering in the Detective Kubu mystery series has an air of unsettlement throughout -- partly due to the murders Kubu is investigating, partly because of changes that Kubu is experiencing at home. An old friend from school, Khumanego, implores Kubu to get involved in the case, accusing the local police of being racists unjustly targeting the Bushmen who found the first body. Additional murders arise and clues continue to point to involvement by the Bushmen; however, Kubu cannot believe ...more
Sep 28, 2011 Staci rated it really liked it
First thought when I finished the last sentence: "Oh my! I think I've fallen in love with a new character- Kubu!"

Reasons I chose this book- After reading the synopsis I just knew this was a book that I would enjoy..give me a good mystery that takes place in Africa and I'm sure to be hooked!

Reasons I liked this book- The characters! Hands down they won me over. They felt real to me and as I was reading, their faces appeared in my imagination. When that happens I know I'm in for a real treat! I ab
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 22, 2012 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by: Friederike Knabe
Shelves: librarybooks
The Place is very sacred and very secret.’

The story opens with a prologue set in the 1950s involving Gibiwasi (a young bushman) and his father, and their visit to an important sacred spot in the Kalahari Desert known as ‘The Place’. Gibiwasi’s father enjoins him not to tell anyone about The Place, except his own eldest son when the time comes.

In the present, Monzo, a ranger from the Transfrontier Park is found dead by two of his colleagues. There are three Bushmen with him and while they say tha
In this third mystery set in Botswana, Assistant Supt. David "Kubu" Bengu is settling into life as a new father when an old friend of his, a Bushman that he knew in childhood, calls him about a murder case in the Kalahari which has resulted in the arrest of three Bushmen for the crime. Bushmen are by nature non-violent and although Kubu is loathe to get involved, he feels that he owes his friend at least a look-see, so he leaves his struggling wife Joy and baby daughter for a trip to the desert ...more
Apr 23, 2012 Brendan rated it really liked it
This third book in the Detective Kubu series finds our favorite portly member of Botswanna CID called in to help investigate a murder committed on the edge of the Kalahari. When the Bushmen who find the body become suspects in the murder, Kubu's old school friend calls him in to help make sure the aboriginal men get fair treatment at the hands of the often-racist government. A few thoughts:

Once again, the authors (Michael Stanley is pseudonym for two men) do a great job immersing the reader in
Apr 18, 2016 Bogelsker rated it liked it
Shelves: africa
I quite like Michael Stanleys books about Botswana, I especially like how the African theme is sort of underplayed, I dislike that the authors say that pickup trucks have an Afrikaans name - IN Botwana!, (I dont recall the name trekkies or something). When I lived in Botswana, for 2 years I never ever heard this horrible nickname for a pickup truck. Well... I have read all the books in the series and I like Detective Kubu and his family a lot! ...more
Nov 12, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it
Three Bushmen who were in the area are arrested for the murder of a ranger. A bushman and close friend of Detective Kubu Bengu tells him that he believes the detective in charge of the case is guilty of racial profiling and is overlooking possibilities that might involve a white man. As other deaths occur, the police step up their efforts to find the person or persons responsible. This book started out slowly for me, but it picked up as the story progressed and tensions mounted. The novel contai ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Annabelle rated it really liked it
This was a great discovery of a new detective series, recommended by my son. Kubu, a nickname meaning hippotamus, is a lovable, round detective in Botswana. Written by two white South Africans, they lovingly set the scene in the capital city Gaborone and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, amidst Bushmen land and nomadic culture. There is a body of a Nambian man with Bushmen implicated. The backdrop is the politics of the Bushmen and the government and companies who are taking over their lands and ...more
Jaimie Hall
Nov 13, 2014 Jaimie Hall rated it it was amazing
I think we found a signed copy of this book in MN when we traveled there for my husband's class reunion. It has sat in my to-read pile once my husband read it. I'm only sorry I didn't read sooner. Detective David “Kubu” Bengu is an unusual but delightful character and I enjoyed how he "got his man." I am going to track down the first two in the series, and hope there are more.
Apr 04, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it
Finally think the writers are getting to know their character a little better. They've stepped away some from the many, many references to food and wine (still mentioned, but not in nearly the detail as before). And I felt like this mystery/crime was a little better plotted out.

I'm mainly reading the series as easy reading, I have been able to get the books from the library as e-loans.
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Michael Stanley is the writing partnership of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Michael lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Stanley in Minneapolis.
We have travelled extensively in southern africa and have a special love of Botswana, where our detective novels are set.

Detective Kubu investigates complex murders in his native land, justifying his nickname by his size and tenacity (Kubu is Sets
More about Michael Stanley...

Other Books in the Series

Detective Kubu (5 books)
  • A Carrion Death (Detective Kubu, #1)
  • The Second Death Of Goodluck Tinubu (Detective Kubu, #2)
  • Deadly Harvest: A Detective Kubu Mystery (Detective Kubu, #4)
  • A Death in the Family (Detective Kubu #5)

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