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Let the Dead Lie (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #2)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  440 ratings  ·  100 reviews
South Africa, 1953. The National Party's rigid race laws have split the nation and a gruelling poverty grips many on the edges of its society. When former Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper stumbles across the body of a child, Jolly Marks, at the Durban docks, he can little imagine what the discovery will lead him to. Soon Cooper finds himself under suspicion for not only...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Pan MacMillan (first published January 1st 2010)
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Helene Young
Let the Dead Lie, by Malla Nunn, is set in 1953 in Durban, South Africa, with World War 2 as a bleak backdrop. I’ve always had a fascination with Africa as a whole and have devoured stories by Wilbur Smith, Beverly Harper, Tony Parks, Katherine Scholes and a recent find, Margie Orford so I was predisposed to like it.

From the back cover : ‘In Let the Dead Lie, Cooper is a changed man. Forced to resign from his position of Detective Sergeant and re-classified as mixed race, he winds up powerless a...more
Lewis Weinstein
Malla Nunn has created a fast-past exciting crime story set in Durban, South Africa. This is the 2nd in a series (there are now 4) featuring Inspector Emmanuel Cooper struggling in the early stages of an emerging apartheid world. Nunn handles a multiplicity of characters deftly, without confusing the reader, and her ability to sustain an action sequence is impressive. Many of the characters could be (and probably are) continued in subsequent novels.

Nunn's questions for discussion and her own in...more
Detective Emmanuel Cooper has lost his job, but not his passion. Working ostesibly as a nightwatchman at the Durban docks in South Africa, he is moonlighting for his former boss, Major von Niekirk when a young slumdweller/gofer dies from a slashed throat. Befriending a working girl, with a myriad of underworld contacts, Cooper is arrested for the murder and then released for 48 hours to solve the crime and bring those responsible to justice.
Diane Brown
I did not read the first of the books in this series. Perhaps I should have done so first to get a better handle on the Detective - and understand his character more.

This story takes place in Durban South Africa during apartheid South Africa. It is about a detective who has to solve a murder case on the docks in a limited time period

Nunn unfolds the case well and I found myself eager to find out what happened next

It attempts to deal with race and classification. I think this area could have bee...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Let the Dead Lie is the exciting second novel from Malla Nunn featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, following on from A Beautiful Place To Die. This crime series, set in Southern Africa in the 1950's, has a gritty, dark realism that explores the political and social system of the period.
Detective Emmanuel Cooper is working on the docks in the port city of Durban having been forced to resign his position and accept a reclassification as 'mixed race' after the events in Jacob's Rest. Despit...more
This suspenseful novel from award-winning author Malla Nunn is taut and tightly paced. Set in 1953 in South Africa, a country that surrounds Nunn’s country of birth, Swaziland, the detective novel masterfully blends all elements that are required in such a text. Whether it is read as a sequel to Nunn’s impressive debut novel, A Beautiful Place to Die, or by itself matters little, but that it is most definitely worth reading by anyone interested in the detective genre is a cert.

The action in Let...more
Jan 07, 2012 Judy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
Let the Dead Lie takes the reader to post-WW I South Africa. Emmanuel Cooper, a recently re-classified former detective, finds himself doing surveillance work for his former army officer, Major van Niekerk. Emmanuel's problem of helping others in trouble and curiosity land him in a world of trouble in this mystery novel.

Its been a while since I read a mystery, so this was a pleasant change of pace. If I read mysteries more often, I wouldn't have given this the 3.5 stars that I have because most...more
Malla Nunn is my new literary crush. While not perfect, this second Emmanuel Cooper novel delivers. Nunn is great on place: now I have to go to Durban. And she so well describes the darkness and chaos that must be part of any city's underground, and Cooper is the perfect noir hero. Nunn is the scribe of sadness and loss. In this venture Cooper has lost his detective card and is working under cover in Durban, South Africa investigating police officers for the morally ambiguous Major van Neikerk....more
Carla Ford
Having thoroughly enjoyed the first novel by the same author, I was looking forward to this one, and I wasn't disappointed. As a matter of fact, this one was easier to read because I had already learned so much about the race classifications for this era in South Africa from the first novel. The main character, Emmanuel, is wonderful, and such a good guy that it is easy to get caught up in the solving of the mystery. The plot takes so many twists and turns that it isn't possible to guess the out...more
Minty McBunny
One risk of reading as many books as I do is reading a great first book in a series only to forget to reserve the next one & therefore forget about the series altogether.

Only a recommendation from Goodreads reminded I had loved A Beautiful Place to Die and that I had meant to follow up on the series.

Because it had been so long, I struggled at the beginning to get up to speed and to remember what had happened to Cooper in the previous book. Once I did, I enjoyed the story. I like the lesson...more
Alumine Andrew
This the second novel by Nunn, and having enjoyed her first one i eagerly awaited it. The main protagonist is Emmanuel Cooper, a mixed-race detective in Durban. We get a bit of background from the many references to the first novel, A beautiful Place to Die. This is what spoiled it for me. I think a more careful edit would have made the text flow, taking out the repetitive back-story references and constant reminder he's on a deadline and why.
I think the first novel is much better, the story is...more
I bought this novel immediately after finishing "A beautiful place to die", because I'd loved the characters and setting so much. I couldn't wait to find out what had happened to Emmanuel Cooper and wondered whether Shabalala would reappear in this new city far from Jacob's Rest (he does but when he does, it makes sense). Emmanuel's been demoted due to the fallout from what happened in Jacob's Rest, but he's still protected by Van Niekerk who's assigned him on a spying mission in Durban's freigh...more
The Crime Scene Scene
Let The Dead lie is the second novel in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series by author Malla Nunn. After resigning his detective position Emmanuel Cooper is giving a surveillance job by his old boss when he stumbles upon the body of a young boy. He will not walk away and when two more bodies turn up at his boarding house he becomes prime suspect in a triple murder case and is released with 48 hours to clear his name.

Set in Apartheid era South Africa this book obviously does not avoid the race is...more
P Seeley
Like the first book in this series, A Beautiful Place to Die, this novel takes place in early 1950's apartheid South Africa. The details of daily life in this setting are as fascinating as the workings of law enforcement, as is the way local culture and the legal system impact each other in positive and negative ways.

A few instances of anachronistic language broke the atmosphere for me ("person of interest," "collateral damage," "spooks" used as synonym for intelligence agent), but overall I en...more
Joseph A.
This book is a continuation of the story of Emmanuel Cooper, who has lost his job as a police detective because of opposing the actions of the South African Security Services. However, he is still working undercover for his old boss at the homicide unit. He inadvertently becomes a suspect in a triple murder and must find the real killers quickly to stay out of prison. The story has the backdrop of apartheid and its affect on South African society. The author develops several interesting characte...more
The early part of this book is hard reading mainly because it is so uncomfortable to see the hero of Nunn's previous book, A Beautiful Place to Die, in such different circumstances, stripped of his Detective's Badge and reclassified as non-white. Not a big deal? In 1950's South Africa it changes everything for Emmanuel Cooper. Cooper is nonethless drawn in to a new murder investigation and quickly becomes a suspect on the run in the racially mixed streets of Durban. Cooper does eventually come t...more
'Let the Dead lie' is the second case of Detective Emmanuel Cooper who is living in 1950s South Africa. While the first story took place in the African countryside, the second investigation is happening in Durban. Malla Nunn manages very well to describe the bustling atmosphere of the dubious harbor city in a country where racial segregation is implemented more and more ruthlessly. But without being able to give a precise reason, I have to say that I preferred the vivid and scenic descriptions o...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathleen Hagen
Let the Dead Lie, by Malla Nunn, a-minus, narrated by Saul Reichlin, produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

This book, her second in the series involving Detective Cooper in South Africa, has a prologue and epilogue which date back to Cooper’s time in the war, and the finding of the body of a French prostitute, and his help in finding the killer rather than spending his relaxation time in bed with a girl. In the main part of the book, he is no longer a policeman because of the e...more
The second Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper book LET THE DEAD LIE has now been released, following on the from highly praised A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE.

LET THE DEAD LIE takes Cooper into different physical circumstances, working in a very bleak city, doing menial labour and nightly surveillance work, there's a sense of loss and depression surrounding him. This rapidly changes to desperation as he is implicated in further murders and has a limited time, and difficult circumstances in which to cl...more
"Let the Dead Lie: A Novel","Malla Nunn"
"This book was a sequel to A Beautiful Place to Die, which was one of my favorite books this year. It continues the adventures of Emmanuel Cooper. In the first book he was investigating a murder of a police chief in a small settlement in 1952. That book got into the hearts and minds of the various ethnic and cultural groups at the beginning of apartheid.
Now Cooper has been dismissed from his job as police detective and has lost his status as a white man...more
I enjoy this writer's books, not only because they are well written mysteries, but also because of the setting. She herself is a black South African and sets her stories in 1950s South Africa. It's interesting to read about the intersection of culture and how people were categorized then: black, white, nonwhite (ie, Indian, mixed race) and how they must live with each other based on the law of race distinction. The laws of apartheid are familiar to us in their similarity to "Jim Crow" laws, but...more
Emmanuel Cooper ist als weißes Ghettokind in Johannesburg aufgewachsen. 1953, Jahre nachdem er für das Britische Empire in Europa im Zweiten Weltkrieg gekämpft hat, konnte der Kriegs-Veteran und Ex-Polizist im Südafrika der Apartheids-Politik noch nicht wieder Fuß fassen. Seit den Ereignissen in Jacob's Rest (Ein schöner Ort zu sterben) ist weniger als ein Jahr vergangen. Cooper hat aufgrund seiner offenen Kritik an der Parteilichkeit der südafrikanischen Polizei seinen Job als Ermittler verlore...more
#2 Emmanuel Cooper mystery set in 1950's South Africa. Cooper, forced to resign from the police force due to the machinations of enemies in the Security Branch resulting from events in the first book, is now working the docks in Durban as a laborer--he's also had his race classification changed to 'mixed-race' which limits his opportunities. While he is doing his regular job he is also working a side job undercover trying to ferret out police corruption for his old boss, Major van Niekirk, who h...more
Another superb outing in Nunn's series about a detective constable with a conscience - a bad combination in 1950s South Africa where the possession of a white skin and the right papers are paramount factors in one's freedom of movement and action. Following the events of the previous novel in this series (A Beautiful Place to Die), Emmanuel Cooper is no longer a detective (and is not even any longer classed as white.) His enigmatic protector on the police force, Major van Niekerk, employs him un...more
Pam Curtis
This is a 4.5 star mystery, and Malla Nunn ranks up there with Terry Shames as one of my two favorite mystery authors. Emmanuel Cooper, the mixed-race South African detective, is a wonderfully layered character. Although this novel is set in Durban, SA, Nunn even manages to bring in Cooper's two helpers from A Beautiful Place to Die, the Jewish doctor and the Zulu policeman, to help him solve a murder and shield a Russian fugitive.
Emmanuel Cooper werkt niet meer als rechercheur maar in de havens van Durban. Daarnaast werkt hij als een soort undercover voor Van Niekerk. Wanneer hij hier op een avond mee bezig is ontdekt hij een vermoorde blanke jongen. Wanneer later nog twee moorden plaats vinden op min of meer dezelfde modus operandi wordt Cooper beschuldigd van deze drie moorden. De enige manier om het tegendeel te bewijzen is door zelf op onderzoek uit te gaan. Met hulp van een goede bekende slaagt hij erin om uit de ge...more
I thought the plot was every bit as good as the earlier book, so why three stars? Language.

Nunn uses current idiom instead of the language of the 1950s.

For example, early on, one character described the caper as "piece of cake." Sorry, but back then, the idiom was "easy as pie," or "simple, Simon."

Another example, she consistently uses "pants," where the British/South African English would have said, "trousers." Pants, back ten, meant "underpants."

Am I being picky? Damned straight!
Andrew Neal
This was an excellent sequel. The main character was forced into a completely different setting and situation than he experienced in the first book, which gave us yet another look at Apartheid in 1950's South Africa.

The only thing which made it less than perfect for me was the (view spoiler)...more
Set in 1953 South Africa shortly after the apartheid laws were installed, the series features a mixed race English detective, Emmanuel Cooper. An interesting feature is when Cooper hears his Scottish commander from WW II in his head, advising him what to do when things get rough. In this story, Emmanuel is a suspect in three murders and is given 48 hours by his boss to find the real killer.
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Currently resides in Sydney, Australia. Her motto: We are people through other people.

More about Malla Nunn...
A Beautiful Place to Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #1) 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

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