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Salamander Cotton (Jacob Tshabalala #2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  47 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A dark, chilling mystery set in the brooding, atmospheric lands of South Africa


In his debut thriller, Bloody Harvests, Richard Kunzmann gave readers a glimpse into the turbulent South African landscape. Now Detective Inspector Jacob Tshabalala and his former colleague Harry Mason return with another beautifully spellbinding thriller combining murder, revenge, greed, and t
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 13th 2007 by Minotaur Books (first published February 3rd 2006)
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Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
The story opens with Inspector Jacob Tshabalala being called to the scene of the gruesome murder of Bernard Klamm. The victim's ex-wife isn't that surprised that he was murdered, but wants someone to find out what happened to her daughter, who went missing thirty-nine years previously. Tshabalala calls in his friend and former partner, Harry Mason, to investigate.
This is a complicated tale, and the jumping around chronologically and geographically was sometimes confusing to me. There are lots o
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Spoiler alert!

It's a fairly engaging mystery thriller with a somewhat rushed and unsatisfying ending. The most intriguing part of the mystery - an epidemic of possibly supernatural cases of self-mutilation among 14 year old girls in the area is only briefly explained in the last chapter as something that "probably has some kind of rational explanation if you care to look it up in psychology books". The author makes it almost the center of all the tension only to dismiss it in the end as somethin
Dec 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Well, this is the first book that I have read for the new year, though I started it in 2007.

I had a difficult time getting into it and almost returned it to the library a few times. But I pressed on. I can't say that this book was particularly thrilling or kept me on my toes because it didn't. Instead, I would say that we were given certain bits of information, not in chronological order that provided most of the information and backstory to piece things together and give people motive. Though h
Mar 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a remarkably good read and my second Richard Kunzmann novel. It paints a bleak picture of Apartheid South Africa, but perhaps it is more bleak picture of the industrial revololution taking place anywhere, just that in the West the abuses happened a few years earlier.. But a great read, compelling and descriptive. There were a few red herrings which weren't in my opinion adequately explained and that detracted in the end from my overall enjoyment but all the same well worth the read..
Sep 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: south-africa
As an ex South African, did find it very graphic, but that is the culture of South Africa, having grown up with violence on a day to day basis. Definitely not a book I can read late at night, otherwise I will have nightmares all night. Page turner once I started it. Had been on my TBR pile for a very long time and eventually managed to get to it and read it within 24 hours. Great novel, Richard Kunzmann, the first novel I have read written by you. I hope to read a few more.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Having retired to take care of his daughter following his wife's death in Bloody Harvests, Harry is failing as a father and carpenter. His former partner, Jacob, convinces him to work as a private investigator to look into a cold case, which has come to life following a vicious murder. Well written and suspenseful.
Stephanie Tanton
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent mystery set in South Africa. Strong characters compete to solve or hide the cause of an unsolved disappearance of a young woman on an asbestos mine operation. I will be reading more by this author.
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-crime
This was one of the best books I have read of this genre. Not as obviously formulaic as some and I had to stay up late to finish it ;) I would agree the ending appeared a little rushed (or was it that I was rushing to finish it!)
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a Read-Alike title for A Beautiful Place to Die, the Reading List winner in the Mystery category for 2010. For the complete list, go to
Ryanie Primrose
Totally brilliant Author.
Cant wait for the 4th book.
Currently reading Dead End Road.
Amanda Patterson
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Good idea and a good read.It would have been better if there weren't so many characters floating around in it.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it liked it
A worthwhile read with a good story line.
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the better South African crime novels. It takes place primarily in the Northern State and looks into the asbestos industry.
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Tammy Flanders
Did not finish.
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Richard Kunzmann published his first police procedural in the UK at the tender age of 26, and Bloody Harvests was immediately short-listed for the Crime Writers Association’s lucrative J.C.W. Creasy Award for Best New Novel, in 2002. Publication of Bloody Harvests and his second thriller, Salamander Cotton , quickly followed in all English language territories.

The Washington Post has described his
More about Richard Kunzmann...

Other Books in the Series

Jacob Tshabalala (3 books)
  • Bloody Harvests
  • Dead-End Road