Justice Dans Un Pays De Rêve (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Justice Dans Un Pays De Rêve (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,326 ratings  ·  308 reviews
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.

The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, A Beautiful Place to Die marks the debut...more
Published 2011 by Ed. des Deux Terres (first published 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Justice Dans Un Pays De Rêve, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Justice Dans Un Pays De Rêve

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,954)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Malla Nunn writes with such a sure and steady hand that it's hard to believe this is a first novel. She really knows how to string you along with the mystery, keeping you reading as the secret lives of the characters are slowly revealed.

The mystery itself is excellent, but the intimate look at rural apartheid in South Africa is equally as interesting, if not more so. The story takes place in 1952, shortly after the National Party has enacted very strict new segregation laws. It's against the la...more
Excellent debut novel by Mala Nunn, takes place in 1952 south Africa as the new apartheid laws are being encoded and enforced. Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper, a WWII veteran, is sent to a small town to investigate the murder of the local police captain. what follows is a tale of complex racial relationships, family pride and power, negotiating the new laws while trying to solve a murder, and dealing with other forces of government who may not care who is really guilty.

Well written, with an i...more
What a brilliant book! My first Malla Nunn, and what a beginning!

Detective Emmanuel Cooper found himself in Jacob’s Rest, a tiny town situated on the border of South Africa and Mozambique. He’d been sent there to investigate a suspected homicide, but his superior was convinced it was a hoax, so only spared Emmanuel to check it out. But what he found was an Afrikaner police captain who had been murdered, and his only help in the investigation were an 18 year old white boy, who had recently donned...more
Book Him Danno
If you love police procedurals get on this series right now! The author is only three books in and they are absolutely fantastic.

I love a great mystery, especially one that can educate me on a part of history I know nothing about beyond the basics. The hero of the books is English police detective Emmanuel Cooper, trying to balance the tensions of learning the truth to solve the case, and the racial policies of 1950’s apartheid South Africa. The white police captain has been found murdered in...more
Jan 08, 2013 Pauline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wallander fans
A Beautiful Place to Die is a cracker of a novel. In the book we see 1950s South Africa through the eyes of Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper, sent to investigate the death of an Afrikaner police captain in the small town of Jacob’s Rest near the border with Mozambique.

Emmanuel reminds me of Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander, polite, neither unkind nor easily intimidated, resigned to his lot of long days and headaches, and wearily facing down human cruelty in all its petty, pathetic and monstrou...more
I am indebted to Marilyn Brady for her recommendation to read Malla Nunn’s A Beautiful Place to Die. Not being interested in crime fiction, I most certainly would have missed reading it if not for Marilyn’s enticing review, and that would have been a pity because A Beautiful Place to Die is much more than genre fiction. It reminded me of the best of Graham Greene in the way that the novel explores how context and culture impact on crime and justice, and how survival in an intransigently corrupt...more
The first in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper Mysteries, A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE is set in 1950's apartheid South Africa. Cooper is sent to investigate the murder of the local Afrikaner Police Captain --the father of the town's powerful Pretiorus family. He is aided by the town's only black Zulu police officer and a Jewish doctor transplant from WW2. Cooper is having to work secretly and carefully because of the politically powerful Security Branch, which is determined to ring a confession from a...more
MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under
The Blurb
“In her “stellar” (Publishers Weekly) debut, 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. When an Afrikaner police officer is murdered, the powerful police Security Branch, dedicated to flushing out black communist radicals, pre-empts Detective Emmanuel Cooper’s investigation. But Cooper isn’t interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friend...more
James Thane
This outstanding debut novel got a well-deserved nomination for an Edgar award for best novel of the year (2010). Nunn creates a vivid portrait of South Africa in 1952, and sets into that world a memorable cast of characters.

The main protagonist, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper, is sent to a small town to investigate the murder of the local police captain who is also the head of a prominent local family. Cooper soon finds himself up against the captain's family and the national security polic...more
Richard Kunzmann
A Beautiful Place to Die – Malla Nunn

Turn back the clock to 1952, South Africa. The National Party is at the height of its power and, to paraphrase the author, not a year goes past without the government introducing some new heinous law that can be broken by virtue of a person’s skin colour.
The body of Captain Willem Pretorius is found floating in a river bordering on Mozambique, and Detective Emmanuel Cooper is sent from Johannesburg to investigate the killing. At first smugglers are...more
Malla Nunn does deal with some terrible aspects of South African history and culture - terrible when viewed from an Australian perspective - but she never bashes you over the head with any moralising, which would have been so tempting. She lets characters in the story destroy themselves and their culture through their actions - her writing is good crime stuff but in the tradition of the best writers she reflects on social issues and gives insights to those of us who have not experienced them.
GP Field
I am an (Afrikaans - Pommy - Italian) Aussie immigrant from SA with strong links to the area where this book is set. I'm old enough to have lived as a child under apartheid and so this book really spoke to me. The story is good, the characters convincing and the setting evocative. Strongly recommended.
Not only was this book a good read from the standpoint of its genre, mystery, it also explores the race issue in South Africa. I learned a great deal about the laws there, the harshness of apartheid, and the sadness of it all in such a beautiful setting.
This is, on the surface, a murder mystery. But it is set in a small town in South Africa, on the boarder with Mozambique, in 1952. The historical timing of the setting of the story immediately changes this novel from a mere murder mystery to a political comment. And I think it meets both challenges it sets itself very well.

Detective Emmanuel Cooper is sent to investigate what is thought to be a hoax call in the small town of Jacob’s Rest. What he actually lands up investigating is the murder of...more
Kasa Cotugno
More than a standard murder mystery set in an exotic location, this book provides a window into an intriguing part of the world at a pivotal time. South Africa in 1952, only 8 years after D-Day, when memories of the war are still fresh. Detective Emanuel Cooper finds himself in a small town near the Mozambique border, on his own, trying to solve the murder of the local police chief, hampered by lack of assistance from J'burg and the presence of the "Intelligence Division" seemingly more intent o...more
Dec 11, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katy by: Amazon Vine
Shelves: vine-book
I read this book in September of 2008. I received it from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

My synopsis: A Beautiful Place to Die is, when broken down to its core, a murder mystery - Sgt. Detective Emmanual Cooper is called to the small town of Jacobs Rest in Southwest Africa on what is believed to be a hoax call, only to discover the body of a white man - the police captain, no less - floating in the river. Left to cope on his own, being driven out of the case by men from...more
This was my favorite out of the random 5 books I picked up at the library the last time I was there. An intriguingly complex murder mystery set in South Africa in the 1950's, I felt this novel gave me the most insight into another culture, country, and history than any of the other books so far in my Books From Around the World challenge. There was never a moment I got bored or felt the story to be in a lull period. I also enjoyed the writing style of Malla Nunn. Sophisticated yet smoothly paced...more
De (hoofd)personen uit Een mooie plek om te sterven kwamen voor mij niet echt tot leven. De goede(n) te goed en de slechterik(ken) te clownesk slecht. Allemaal net een beetje 'te' en vooral een beetje te ongeloofwaardig, te houterig. Het is jammer, want op zich is het verhaal dat verteld wordt, in die 'setting' als basis wel heel intrigerend. Ik had graag wat meer inzicht gehad in de verhouding tussen Willem Pretorius en Shabalala, want dat lijkt toch de spil van het verhaal. Omdat Willem Pretor...more
First Sentence: Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper switched off the engine and looked out through the dirty windscreen.

Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is sent from Johannesburg to Jacob's Rest after a call comes in reporting a possible murder. What he finds is the body of the town’s Afrikaner police captain, William Pretorius, and a confrontation with his volatile family. Members of the powerful Security Branch also arrive and push Cooper out, leaving his to investigate a peeping tom case uns...more
A timely read so soon after the death of Nelson Mandela in Dec.'13. It reminded me again of the sheer brilliance of this man who would go from prisoner to President to deny the corruption and, more importantly, the existence, of any system of Gov't. that separates people according to race, religion, etc..

A glimpse into apartheid South Africa made this much more than a generic mystery novel. Well done, Malla Nunn .
A Beautiful Place to Die is a fascinating story about a police officer from Capetown South Africa sent to a little border town called Jacob's Rest to solve a murder. When he arrives, he is surprised to learn that the victim is a white police officer. Not only that, but the victim is the captain of the police officers. Such a crime is shocking because the apartheid laws are in full effect and it looks as if the white victim had close ties to the black community.

I read this with interest because m...more
This is the first book in a wonderful series featuring Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman who served in WWII, and still has nightmares about the horrors he's seen. It's 1952 and in South Africa the new apartheid laws have gone into effect, separating white from black and mixed race people. Cooper arrives in the small town of Jacob's Rest to investigate the alleged murder of a local Afrikaner Police Captain. Captain Pretorius is considered to be a fair, honorable, and very stern an...more
Jenny (Reading the End)
This review first appeared on http://readingtheend.com

This was DARK. Which I guess is what I should have expected from a murder mystery that takes places in a small town in apartheid South Africa.

The beginning: British police detective Emmanuel Cooper comes to investigate the murder of an Afrikaner police captain in the small town of Jacob’s Rest. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a murder mystery where the victim is male. This probably happens more often than it seems to me to happen. I don’t...more
I picked up this up for $1 at a library book sale. The book cover said the magic words: South Africa--a big interest of mine. The mystery takes place in rural South Africa when the Afrikaaner sheriff is found dead. I liked the way it explored cultural issues and complexities of South Africa. The characters were interesting. Provided a sense of the conflicts between the various races and nationalities in the 1950s. Enough twists and discoveries to meet the mystery need. Kept me engaged night afte...more
Yvonne Perkins
A Beautiful Place to Die is about crime, but not about justice. Set in 1950s South Africa it depicts a small rural community which is based on an intricate web of lies. Little is what it seems to be on the surface but the outsider, Detective Emmanuel Cooper from Johannesburg, knows his country well.

It is the setting of this novel which lifts this story from an average crime fiction tale to an absorbing and at times unpredictable story. Because most readers are not familiar with the South Africa...more
Outstanding setting and characters. Nunn makes you feel and see the beauty of South Africa and understand why so many are enraptured by it. This is a really well done historical mystery, only a little slow in the beginning. Emmanuel Cooper, a WWII veteran with PTDS, finds himself in the African veld investigating the murder of a prominent Dutch police captain, a native Afrikaner. The new apartheid laws complicate his mission as do the dead man's pack of huge and brutal sons.
Nunn has created a great plot and excellent characterizations in this first in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series. She also helps the reader see the beauties of South Africa, such a great contrast to the racism of the time (early 1950s), when the National Party had enacted laws that increased the penalties for relationships of any kind between the races. This aspect of life colors (pun intended) every description, conversation, and action in the book, and the author really helps the reader com...more
Mike Cook
Aug 24, 2014 Mike Cook rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Steve Cook
I love reading crime novels written by foreign authors. They give you such an inside look at the societies in which they are set. This one doesn't disappoint. The story takes place in South Africa in 1952, a time and a place stained by apartheid. Like so many other times and places, there is no justice or true freedom for the minority members of society. In this case, the Boers (whites with Dutch ancestry) see the two tiers of society below them (Coloreds and Blacks) as less than human and treat...more
The Crime Scene Scene
A Beautiful Place to Die is the first novel in the Detetive Emmanuel Cooper series by author Malla Nunn. An Afrikaner police captain is found murdered and DS Emmanuel Cooper is assigned to investigate. But as he begins his investigation he is preempted by the Security Branch whose job it is to root out Communist sympathisers but he ignores this to follow the clues and realises that the captain may not been quite the great man everyone thinks he is.

The novel and the series is set in South Africa...more
I picked up this novel because I was working on South Africa and figured it'd flesh out my understanding of early Apartheid years. It turned out to be a page-turner - in fact, I liked it so much I immediately bought the next novel in the series! I loved the fully-realized setting of South Africa under Apartheid, the complexity of the characters trying to deal with the new laws, and Emmanuel Cooper, who may be a little crazy (he hears his sergeant from ww2, although the war ended 7 years earlier)...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 98 99 next »
  • A Carrion Death (Detective Kubu, #1)
  • Wife of the Gods
  • Random Violence (Jade de Jong, #1)
  • 7 dae (Benny Griessel, #3)
  • The Marx Sisters (Brock & Kolla, #1)
  • The Steam Pig
  • Death of a Nationalist (Tejada, #1)
  • Death Wore White (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine, #1)
  • The Darkest Hour (Detective Ella Marconi #2)
  • The Broken Shore
  • Whispering Death (Inspector Challis, #6)
  • The Missing
  • The Heart of Redness
  • Starvation Lake
  • Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree #1)
  • Vodka Doesn't Freeze (Detective Jill Jackson, #1)
  • As Darkness Falls (Dungirri, #1)
  • Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm
Currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Her motto: We are people through other people.

More about Malla Nunn...
Let The Dead Lie (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #2) Blessed Are the Dead  (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #3) Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4) The Malla Nunn Collection #1: A Beautiful Place to Die, Let the Dead Lie, and Blessed Are the Dead The Malla Nunn Reader's Companion: A Collection of Excerpts

Share This Book