Facets of Death by Michael Stanley #Extract #BookReview

Detective Kubu’s first case may also be his last…

Recruited straight from university to Botswana’s CID, David ‘Kubu’ Bengu has raised his colleagues’ suspicions with his meteoric rise within the department, and he has a lot to prove…

When the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats worth of gems, and then the thieves are killed, execution-style, Kubu leaps at the chance to prove himself. But where are the diamonds? And what role does a witch doctor and his son play?

Does this young detective have the skill – and integrity – to engineer an international trap? Or could it cost him everything, including his life…?

A riveting, chilling prequel to the award-winning Detective Kubu series, Facets of Death introduces the beloved Kubu and his richly described native Botswana, in a dark, sophisticated thriller that will leave you breathless.

It's such a pleasure to be sharing an extract from Facets of Death today, I love the Detective Kubu series and look forward to reading and reviewing this prequel soon. Many thanks to Michael Stanley, Orenda Book and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for providing the extract and for inviting me onto the blog tour.

Chapter 5

‘You shouldn’t have volunteered to help me,’ Detective Sergeant Mathew Neo said as they walked into his office after the meeting. 

‘I didn’t,’ Kubu responded. ‘All I asked was whether I’d heard the assistant superintendent correctly. The director volunteered me.’ 

‘Are you totally stupid, Bengu? Asking a question is the same as volunteering. Nobody does that if they can help it.’ 

‘Please call me Kubu. I really prefer it to David or to Bengu. Can I call you Mathew?’ 

Neo squirmed in his chair. This newcomer, whom everyone despised, had put him on the spot by being friendly and suggesting they address each other informally. 

‘I suppose so,’ he replied reluctantly. ‘But only in private.’ 

‘Why’s that? I don’t understand.’ 

Neo didn’t have the courage to tell Kubu that he didn’t want to be mocked by his colleagues for becoming Kubu’s first friend. 

‘The director is a stickler for the rules,’ he stammered. ‘Let me fill you in on what I know about the suitcases.’ 

Kubu pulled out his notebook. ‘Go ahead.’ 

‘All the suitcases were properly tagged here in Gabs and then scanned as they were loaded on the planes. I’ve just received a fax from Joburg. They’ve confirmed that the bags were scanned when they were put on their next flight, either to London or Paris.’ 

‘So they must have disappeared at the destination cities, right?’ 

‘That’s what I think,’ Neo mumbled. ‘But…’ 

‘But what?’ 

‘The English and French baggage handlers insist that the bags were not on the planes when they landed.’ 

Kubu shrugged. ‘Well, I’m sure they didn’t fall out somewhere over the Sahara. Somebody’s not telling the truth. Let’s go to the airport and talk to the Air Botswana people to make sure we understand how their tracking works. Can you drive?’ 

Neo wasn’t used to things happening quite so quickly, but he couldn’t think of a reason not to head out to the airport. On the way, he and Kubu discussed various possibilities for how the suitcases had disappeared. 

‘From what I’ve read,’ Kubu said, ‘most criminals are pretty stupid, which means they often leave clues or haven’t thought their plans through carefully. I’d be surprised if this was any different.’ 

‘Well, I don’t know how the bags disappeared,’ Neo responded. ‘I stick by my first conclusion that they were stolen at the destination airports.’ 

When they arrived at the Air Botswana counter, they asked to speak to the manager and were escorted to her office. After the introductions were made, Kubu asked her to explain exactly how the tracking system worked. Neo was put out that Kubu had jumped in and taken the lead. 

‘It’s a very good system,’ she explained. ‘When a passenger checks in, we generate a paper tag that is attached to the handle. It’s designed to hold together if left outside in any sort of weather. It has a bar code for easy scanning, as well as flight and connection information and the name of the passenger. There’s a small version of the bar code on the tag that we remove and stick on the bag. That’s an extra precaution in case the tag is torn off. And, of course, we give the passengers a receipt for their bags, which is also taken from the baggage tag. It’s a very efficient process, and very few bags disappear. Usually, the worst that happens is that a bag is late or sent to the wrong destination. But almost always, a missing bag finds its way back to its owner.’ 

Kubu scratched his head. ‘Okay. So, what happens next?’ 

‘When the bag is loaded onto the plane, the baggage handler scans the tag. That way, we know it’s on board and headed to its first destination. The same process is followed each time the bag is loaded onto a plane.’ 

‘And the missing bags were scanned all the way to their destinations?’ Neo jumped in. ‘But didn’t arrive on the carousels?’ 

‘Yes. We confirmed that this morning.’ 

‘And you’re sure they were scanned here and when they were loaded in Joburg?’ Kubu asked the manager. 

‘I’m certain of that. It showed up on our system each time. It’s a complete mystery to us how it could have happened.’ 

‘Just a few last questions: first, which flights did the bags leave on?’ 

‘The 203 and 227 to Joburg. Eight of the bags were on 203 and seven on 227.’ 

‘And do you have any CCTV footage of the area where the bags are put on the carts to be taken to the plane?’ 

‘Yes. I’ve loaded it on a bunch of CDs for you, from the time the plane landed until it took off.’ 

‘Any footage of the bags being loaded on the plane?’ 

‘No. Only of the baggage area.’ 

‘And finally, I’m sure the passengers have given you descriptions of the missing bags. We’d like a copy of that too.’ 

‘We thought you’d want those, so we’ve already made a list for each flight.’ She handed an envelope to Kubu. 

‘Thank you. Very efficient,’ Kubu smiled. ‘We won’t take much more of your time, but could we walk through the baggage area? It’s always good to see things for yourself.’ 

‘Well, that was very helpful, don’t you think?’ Kubu said as Neo drove them back to CID headquarters.

Neo frowned. ‘What do you mean? There wasn’t any new information different from what I knew already.’ 

‘That may be true, but at least with the CCTV footage, we should be able to confirm that the bags left Botswana. Or not…’ 

‘But we know that already.’ 

‘No, Neo, we only have the manager’s word that they left, but we haven’t checked whether that’s actually the case. We’ll do that when we get back.’ 

What an interesting first day, Kubu thought as Neo pulled into the police parking lot. And it’s not even lunchtime.

Facets of Death is published by Orenda Books, it is out in ebook now and will be available in paperback from 29th April 2021. It can be purchased directly from Orenda's website, from all the usual online retailers or ask your local independent bookshop to order a copy for you.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award, and book five, A Death in the Family, was an international bestseller. Their first standalone thriller, Dead of Night, was published in 2019.


  1. Thanks for supporting the blog tour Karen xx

  2. Thank very much for supporting us and Detective Kubu!
    Best wishes

  3. I can't wait to find out what happened to the suitcases! Cheers and thank you. Stan


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