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Let The Dead Lie (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #2)
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Let The Dead Lie (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #2)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  690 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
The second in a crime series set in 1950's South Africa when apartheid laws were first introduced.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA, 1953. Forced to resign from his position of Detective Sergeant and re-classified as 'mixed race' after an incident involving a young black woman, Emmanuel Cooper winds up powerless and alone in the tough coastal city of Durban, mixing labouring with surve
Paperback, 382 pages
Published April 20th 2010 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Hidden between two boxcars in the freight yards of Durban Harbour, Emmanuel Cooper could see the lights of a docked cruise ship across the water. The fact that he was doing night surveillance work for his old boss, Major van Niekerk after having to resign his Detective Sergeant position when his previous case went horribly wrong, made him realize how low his life had tumbled. But even though the words of his boss – do not intervene; do not show yourself – rang in his head, when he heard sounds o ...more
May 29, 2016 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this second in Malla Nunn's Emmanuel Cooper series. Not only has Emmanuel had to give up his job as a police detective and moved to Durban but he has been reclassified from white to mixed race. He has had to take a lowly paid job on the Durban docks but is putting in some overtime doing contract surveillance work for his old boss Major van Niekerk. When he comes across a murdered boy down at the docks he is given 48h to find his murderer or be arrested and charged with the crime himsel ...more
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
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
May 16, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it
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
Feb 11, 2012 Skip rated it liked it
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
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
May 03, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2010 Lois rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 07, 2012 Judy rated it liked it
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
Carla Ford
May 18, 2010 Carla Ford rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2016 Olivermagnus rated it it was amazing
Let the Dead Lie is set in 1950s port town of Durban, South Africa where former Detective Emmanuel Cooper is dealing with the aftermath of inflaming the Security Branch in A Beautiful Place to Die. With no police badge and a different race identification card, Cooper now works undercover in the Victory Shipyards doing surveillance for his former boss, Colonel Van Niekerk.

When Emmanuel discovers the dead body of a ten-year old white errand boy, he cannot let the crime go even though he know it wi
Rob Kitchin
Jan 11, 2015 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it
Let the Dead Lie is the second book in Malla Nunn’s series set in 1950s South Africa. The strength of the story is the characterisation, its historical contextualisation, and atmosphere and sense of place. Emmanuel Cooper is an intriguing character, a kind of nowhere man that belongs to no community, but somehow manages to straddle both white and black worlds. He is surrounded by other conflicted and flawed characters that are all well penned. The tensions and shifting social and legal landscape ...more
I listened to this as an audiobook and it’s always enjoyable to listen to Humphrey Bower. It was also good to read more of Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper’s story. Unfortunately I was a bit distracted when I was listening at the end, so although I got the idea of what happened, the details are a bit sketchy, but I wasn’t worried enough to go back and listen to the last half hour or so again, and that is all entirely my fault and not the author’s!! 3.5 ...more
Minty McBunny
Mar 27, 2014 Minty McBunny rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, march-2014
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
Alumine Andrew
Aug 25, 2014 Alumine Andrew rated it it was ok
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
Jun 11, 2014 Myos rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 10, 2014 The Crime Scene Scene rated it really liked it
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
Anne Forrest
Apr 19, 2016 Anne Forrest rated it liked it
The second in this series of crime novels set in South Africa in the 1950's.Great detective work, fast moving plot, set again the political & social issues of that time.Once again read beautifully by the talented Humphrey Bower.
P Seeley
Aug 23, 2014 P Seeley rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Dec 12, 2015 Andrew rated it it was amazing
mmanual Cooper is a cop in South Africa in the 1950s, during the day of apartheid. Emmanual Cooper is also a cop whose opportunities on the force and in life are limited due to apartheid. However, he has a supporter in the upper echelon who knows that his investigative skills are quite well honed, regardless of his ancestry and his culture's attitudes towards it, and as such, has the opportunity to work.

This is the second book I've read in the series – and I've just purchased the next 2 to compl
Jan 31, 2015 Don rated it really liked it
This mystery takes off where "A Beautiful Place To Die" leaves off. I recommend that if you want to read this one, read the first one first as Nunn refers to the events of the "A Beautiful..." It might give away more than you might want if you go to read the first one. Emmanuel Cooper is doing undercover work when he stumbles on the body of a child who was murdered. Although his orders are to not get involved, it is not in his constitution to not get involved. He quickly becomes a suspect and th ...more
Joseph A.
Mar 21, 2014 Joseph A. rated it really liked it
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
Feb 29, 2016 Tena rated it liked it
Weaker than the first instillment, with a very meandering plot line and much weaker characters. It falls easily into detective novels cliches, but it still makes for a fun read. I grew personally attached to Shabalala and Cooper and I love the South Africa during apartheid atmosphere Nunn creates. The descriptions of racial tensions and the effects the racial classification has on everyday people are probably her strongest suits. I will read the remaining two books in the series, but feel like I ...more
Oct 07, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed A Beautiful Place to Die, the first book in a 1950s South Africa-set series, featuring mixed-race detective Emmanuel Cooper, so I'm not sure why it took me so long to seek this sequel out. It turns out to be every bit as good, featuring load of interesting historical details about the places and people. This one is set in the port city of Durban, where Cooper is working undercover among the docks. One night he stumbles across the body of dead white boy, and faces a ticking clock ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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
Nov 07, 2013 Lars rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, africa
'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
May 23, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, south-africa
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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
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Afro Book Club: Let the Dead Lie -- Book Discussion 29 20 May 01, 2014 05:02AM  
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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)
  • Blessed Are the Dead  (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #3)
  • Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)

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