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Blessed Are The Dead (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #3)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  104 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 th
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ebook, 336 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books (first published May 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 814)
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Brenda
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
Viccy
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
Yasmin
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
Book Him Danno
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.
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Karen
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
Beverly
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.
 Olivermagnus
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
Muphyn
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).
Susan
As usual, I am interested in books about countries I have visited, in this case South Africa, portrayed during the Apartheid era. A white detective (tho hints that he is really mixed race - which mattered a great deal during those times) and a black detective are working a case of a lovely black girl, daughter of a Zulu chief, who has been murdered. We get everything thrown into the mix, including a Jewish doctor - a survivor of the Holocaust at that, an unhappy British doctor, an Afrikaneer les ...more
Christine
Very good, loved all the details!
Kwei Quartey
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
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Ashland Mystery Oregon
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
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Gloria Feit

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.
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Barbara
BLESSED ARE THE DEAD
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
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Nancy
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
Carolyn
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
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Terry
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
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Hana Howard
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
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Roslyn
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,
...more
Liz
Good police procedural set in the complex society of South Africa during apartheid. The murderer became clear to me about the same time as the European detective and his Zulu partner figured it out.
The characters themselves seemed complex, both with hints of a back story that either occurred in the first 2 books of the series or are gradually being revealed. I have been to East Africa so some of the settings were easy to imagine but the societal structure and relationships even within each "trib
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P Seeley
Third in the series from Malla Nunn, and at least as good as the first book, maybe better. The plot evolves naturally from the characters and the culture they inhabit. Because of the secrets and mysteries inherent in apartheid South Africa, the twists of plot and revelations are often surprising but never feel unlikely or unearned. Excellent series that I'm happy to have discovered (Thanks Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, MT).
Rita	 Marie
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
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Jaime
Emmanuel Cooper and his colleague Shabalala are picked to go to mountains in South Africa to investigate the murder of a Zulu girl. Instead of it being a clear-cut case, they discover another murder and a weave of lives between the whites and blacks of the Europeans, and with those of the Afrikaans. Nann shows a great job of barriers between races in the 1950s.

It just didn't fully catch my interest.
Tuck
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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Pat
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
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Mairi
Usually I get new releases (especially hardcovers, though this wasn't one) from the library and if I want a copy, I get it later in a more transit-commute-friendly format. There are a few authors whose books I will purchase in hardcover and/or without having read them first or, really, without having so much as glanced at the jacket copy. Malla Nunn has become one of them.

I love this series. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it. The characters are complex; the narrative is layered;
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Evelyn
Love reading about the setting, South Africa at the start of the race laws. Love that the sidekick detective is a Zulu. Mysteries are not hard to figure out but the actual mystery is sort of secondary to the story.
Kaity
I received this book through a First Reads giveaway.

While I would categorize this book as a murder mystery, it was not the investigation undertaken by Detectives Cooper and Shabalala that most intrigued me. The mystery, to me, was not as interesting as the undercurrent of racial tensions in post-WWII South Africa. Munn weaves a rich story that gives her readers a glimpse into what pre-Apartheid South Africa looked like in the 1950's, as well as exploring the culture of the Zulu tribe.

Although I
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Kimberlee
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
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Great African Reads: Malla Nunn Nominated for a Edgar Award | 2013 7 24 Aug 13, 2013 04:10AM  
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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)
A Beautiful Place to Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #1) Let The Dead Lie (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #2) 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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