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Blessed Are The Dead (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #3)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  689 Ratings  ·  137 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
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
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This is the third novel in Malla Nunn's excellent Emmanuel Cooper series set in the South Africa of the 1950s during apartheid. Cooper and his assistant from the native police, Sergent Shabalala, are sent to the Drakensberg Mountains to investigate the murder of a maid from one of the English cattle stations. A beautiful Zulu woman, favoured by the English family and adored by the youngest son, Gabriel, Amahle is also the daughter of a powerful Zulu chief. Racial tensions are threatening to boil ...more
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
3.5★ These are reliably good reads. I like Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala and I’m keen to finish the series (only one book to go). I feel sorry for DS Cooper having to play the game of keeping his superiors appeased while trying to track down murderers and employing methods that don’t always keep his superiors happy. He treats people with respect even if the apartheid system doesn’t class some people as worthy of a white man’s respect, which is anothe ...more
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, africa
Black magic muti, a sangnoma and a murder on the veld in a 1950's South African country side. A Zulu Police Constable with uncanny tracking skills, a Jewish doctor who made it through the war in Germany, and a "white" Police Detective Emmanuel Cooper are together again to solve the crime. Cultural differences abound but their saying is that they learn from each other as they go along...and then they keep on learning a bit more. I enjoyed this book more than the first of the series which was pre ...more
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
Im fiktiven Roselet in den südafrikanischen Drakensbergen wird die Leiche der bildhübschen Amahle gefunden, eines Mädchens vom Stamm der Zulu. Detective Emmanuel Cooper spricht zwar seit seiner wilden Kindheit leidlich Zulu, ohne die Feinfühligkeit seines Constables Shabalala vom Stamm der Zulu wäre er in der heiklen Ermittlung jedoch aufgeschmissen. Seit der Mordfall an Coopers Dienststelle in Durban gemeldet wurde, nicht etwa an die örtliche Polizeidienststelle, scheint nichts normal und
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Hooray for easy-to-read detective novels with a little bit of extra flavour to keep things exciting. It's like going to your dependable local curry house and discovering a new kind of korma. Nothing revolutionary, but it shakes up a Friday night.

'Blessed Are The Dead' is one of those. It's got all the familiar components of a murder mystery (read: your regular takeaway) - maverick male detective, a faithful sidekick, and a whole gaggle of believable suspects. But set it in the Drakensberg Mount
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
Book Him Danno
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kwei Quartey
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Pamela Mclaren
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Another amazing story by Malla Nunn that shares so much about the culture and history of South Africa. In this story, Det. Sgt. Emmanuel Cooper and Det. Constable Samuel Shabalala are sent out to solve the murder of a 17-year-old Zulu girl, the daughter of a chief who worked at a white owned farm. Almost right from the start Cooper finds problems: although the girl was reported missing, the local police did not react or even note her disappearance; her father seems more concerned about the loss ...more
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.
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).
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was another well plotted addition to Malla Nunn's Emmanuel Cooper's series. She writes very well and the information about the Zulu culture is very interesting. The characters are well drawn and it's good to meet the major players again.
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good, loved all the details!
I’m not much interested in detective novels, but I make an exception for Malla Nunn’s Emmanuel Cooper Mystery series because the novels are a blend of crime fiction with historical fiction set in the apartheid era in South Africa. As I said in my review of A Beautiful Place to Die, this series 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 c
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intense, gripping investigation into the murder of Amahle, the beautiful daughter of a Zulu chief. Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and his assistant, Constable Samuel Shabala are dispatched from Durban by their boss, Colonel Niekirk to determine who killed the seventeen-year-old. Visible in this story are the government-mandated racial divides that blighted 1950s South Africa, particulary when it becomes apparent that white women as well as black maids were jealous of Amahle because of her be ...more
Johanna Markson
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third in a very well done series about a mixed race detective in South Africa post WWII. The first two were a little more complex and engaging then this, but the payoff of this last was worth the wait and now I'm looking forward to the next one in the series. I love Nunn's characters and the very real portrayal of the South African bush culture, race relations, Zulu clan life, and Afrikaner and English settlers. Look for Let the Dead Lie and A Beautiful Place To Die and get started.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Malla Nunn found her muse again with "Blessed Are The Dead." Perhaps Cooper and Shabalala didn't speak to her in Book #2, but they are back in good form in Book #3. Like the other two books in the series, this one offers a look into South African life in the 1950s all the while telling a good crime story.
Emily Fernan
Good mystery, the story line and characters are interesting especially with the time and place the book is set in. The race, gender issues are prevalent themes but not the sole focus of the book so I felt like I was immersed in the characters dilemma and able to feel from their point of view.
Ann Rieth
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cooper and Shabalala are a most unlikely pair of protagonists, and in South Africa during the time of apartheid, they always solve murders that are complicated by racial hurdles. I greatly like the setting, the characters and the storytelling of Malla Nunn.
Marjorie Kubacki
Mystery set in the 1950's in South Africa. The best (so far) in the series.
Another intriguing detective mystery featuring Detective Cooper and other familiar folks in the segregated society of 1950s South Africa.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
Couldn't wait to see who did it.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, crime
I was very impressed by the first book of the series and I liked the second novel. With the third case of Emmanuel Cooper, the author returns to the countryside. Again, Malla Nunn does very well in giving a vivid and scenic description of South Africa in the 1950s. Even better, her style of writing improved – I criticized the first book for being too redundant in some parts. That changed for good in this novel, while the author preserved her other strengths - for example the skilled description ...more
Rogue Reader
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-africa
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
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Great African Reads: Malla Nunn Nominated for a Edgar Award | 2013 7 26 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)

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