Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Steam Pig” as Want to Read:
The Steam Pig
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Steam Pig (Kramer and Zondi Mystery #1)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  24 reviews

“James McClure's first novel arrives like a slam in the kidneys . . . a gripping style, real characters, and an exotic locale. . . . The Steam Pig will not only keep the reader's nose to the page, it will also make [him] think.”—The New York Times Book Review

In the debut mystery featuring Lieutenant Kramer and Detective Sergeant Mickey Zondi set in South Africa, a beautif

...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published October 28th 1972 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1971)
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 The Steam Pig, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Steam Pig

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'BrienThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Lorax by Dr. SeussThe Winds of War by Herman WoukThe Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone
Best Books of 1971
41st out of 67 books — 30 voters
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon ScieszkaCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Three Pigs by David WiesnerCrispin by Ted DewanEmil and His Clever Pig by Astrid Lindgren
Books About Pigs
24th out of 39 books — 7 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 342)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kamas Kirian
A great little crime story about a white South African police Lieutenant and his black partner during Apartheid. I read this for the first time back in '91 after getting a copy of it from my aunt, and I remember liking it but I couldn't remember much other than the basic premise.

I find the apartheid era rather fascinating to read about, and this book was my first real taste of it. Kramer is pretty well developed, but Zondi is still just kind of the main side character to go along with all the o
...more
Maggie Heim
The book is the first in a series of mystery novels about a Afrikaaner detective and his Zulu partner during Apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s. I really wanted to love the book so I would have a new mystery series in a foreign setting like Jo Nesbo or Henning Mankell. However, I found the pace of the story slow and the twists and turns somewhat predictable. I could tolerate a slow plot if the characters were well defined and interesting. But I must confess that it is hard to get enthused ab ...more
Rob Kitchin
Published in 1971 and winner of the CWA Gold Dagger, The Steam Pig is a police procedural set in South Africa. The book is noted for its depiction of apartheid in South Africa in three respects. First, its matter of fact depiction of how apartheid was expressed on a daily basis and how it structured social relations and led to distinct geographies. Second, the complex relationship between Afrikaans ‘Tromp’ Kramer and his Bantu Sergeant Mickey Zondi, which is infused with asymmetrical power relat ...more
Mark
Set in Trekkersburg, a small unfashionable town just north of Durban, South Africa this police drama sets itself down smack dab in the middle of 1960’s apartheid. Bantu gangsters fill the town with crime which Kramer and his surprising side kick, Sergeant Zondi, a Bantu native get to solve. Zondi is able to get the other kaffirs to open up to him where they would not have to a white police officer and so the remarkable team gains a foothold on local crime.

The surprise we find in The Steam Pig is
...more
Mark
Set in Trekkersburg, a small unfashionable town just north of Durban, South Africa this police drama sets itself down smack dab in the middle of 1960’s apartheid. Bantu gangsters fill the town with crime which Kramer and his surprising side kick, Sergeant Zondi, a Bantu native get to solve. Zondi is able to get the other kaffirs to open up to him where they would not have to a white police officer and so the remarkable team gains a foothold on local crime.

The surprise we find in The Steam Pig is
...more
rabbitprincess
Mar 01, 2010 rabbitprincess rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Top 100 list
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy Cole
First Line: For an undertaker George Henry Abbott was a sad man.

In this first book in the Kramer and Zondi mystery series set in South Africa and originally published in 1971, a beautiful blonde has been killed by a bicycle spoke to the heart. The use of bicycle spokes as murder weapons is the signature of Bantu gangsters. Why would the Bantu kill a white woman in this manner? It's something that Kramer and his Bantu partner, Zondi, are going to have to find out.

This is a series that I've been m
...more
Jesse Kula
Apartheid-era mystery novel, read as more research than anything. Some memorable lines and regional slang, good pacing, and plotting. As expected, characters static and prototypical (i.e. hardboiled, loner type, loyal companion that in this case is a kaffir so fascinating cultural dynamics at play). All in all, a worthy read if you are a fan of the genre, but nothing special.
Francis
McClure writes with in an unapologetic style about life and death in South Africa in the 1970's. As with any story of South Africa, from this time, racism tends to take the center stage whether intended by the author or not. But, in this case the author does not preach, he reports, and you are left to judge.

The story twists and turns but is somewhat predictable none the less. The characterization is good, the telling of time and place is good as well. I found the shifts in point-of-view to be to
...more
Peter Brooks
James McClure's detective books are set in Pietermaritzburg in Apartheid South Africa, featuring two policemen, Kramer and Zondi. The plots are OK, and the writing not bad, what is excellent, though, is how they capture the zeitgeist.

The relationship between the white Afrikaans Kramer, and the black Zulu Zondi is brilliantly explored. The town, too, appears almost as a character.

Andra
A great and easy read, yet full of meaning. An original detective duo, a different world. Bantu killings, Colored ratings, racism.

I found McClure captivating. He has a great descriptive gift, he offers a lot, but always leaves you wanting more. His characters are alive, his towns are characters, and the dialogues are enticing.
Charlotte
A complex thriller with a nuanced portrait of apartheid. I'll read the rest that feature the intrepid (and brutal) Lieutenant Kramer and his Bantu Sergeant Zondi. This was published in 1971, and its style was clearly an influence on both Dennis Lehane and maybe even James Kelman (How Late it Was, How Late. At least, I see parallels.
Tyler
This was a decent read. Many parts were tough to get through and appeared to have no point in the story; until you get to the end, then it makes sense. I think it was more the structure of the content and the British slang that threw me but overall the story concept was intriguing.
Sue Davis
South African mystery. Reveals the evils of the the apartheid police. Murdered white woman piano teacher turns out to have been black prostitute.
Janet Williams
Very interesting comparing apartheid Africa and post-apartheid Africa. Definetly worth reading.
Vaughn Cox
If you like murder mystery then James McClure is your man. He is a great story teller.
Elizabeth
This was an excellent book as much for the history as for the mystery.
Lila
This is 3 1/2 stars. Very interesting South African setting and well written
Terry Clayton
Dated now that aparthied is long gone but a cracking good murder mystery.
windy
Good murder mystery set in apartheid South Africa.
Dawn Hammond
1960s South Africa.
Pam
Nov 23, 2007 Pam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
11/23/07 rec via bookmooch
Jim M
Jim M marked it as to-read
Dec 24, 2014
Paul
Paul marked it as to-read
Dec 22, 2014
Durinda
Durinda marked it as to-read
Dec 05, 2014
Jacinta
Jacinta marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • He Who Whispers (Dr. Gideon Fell, #16)
  • The Chinese Orange Mystery
  • The Sleeping Car Murders
  • Hamlet, Revenge! (Sir John Appleby, #2)
  • Malice Aforethought
  • La donna della domenica
  • The Beast Must Die (Nigel Strangeways, #4)
  • Stolen Lives (Jade de Jong, #2)
  • Bones and Silence (Dalziel & Pascoe, #11)
  • Like Clockwork
  • Nairobi Heat
  • Quiet as a Nun (Jemima Shore, #1)
  • More Work for the Undertaker (Albert Campion Mystery, #13)
  • The Engagement
  • The Perfect Murder (Inspector Ghote, #1)
  • The Big Clock
  • The Bride Wore Black
  • Rosaura a las diez
82722
James Howe McClure was a British author and journalist best known for his Kramer and Zondi mysteries set in South Africa.

James McClure was born and raised in South Africa and educated in Pietermaritzburg, Natal at Scottsville School (1947–51), Cowan House (1952–54), and Maritzburg College (1955–58). He worked first as a commercial photographer with Tom Sharpe, who later wrote a series of celebrate
...more
More about James McClure...
The Song Dog The Gooseberry Fool The Caterpillar Cop The Artful Egg Snake

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »