Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Michael Stanley--We Love Our Research

DEBORAH CROMBIE: And now for something completely different! Where else can you go from stately pageantry in England to the African bush from one day to the next? And learn fascinating things you never dreamed you needed to know? 

Our guest today, Michael Stanley, reminds me what a wide window on the world books provide us. I may have been an Anglophile from an early age, but growing up I was also enthralled by Africa, and particularly by the Bushmen, because I'd had the good fortune to learn about both through books. I was thrilled to meet these fascinating people again in A DEADLY COVENANT!


We Love our Research

Michael Stanley

Most writers we know enjoy the research for their books nearly as much as they do the writing. That is certainly true for us – after all, we’re both retired academics. When we decided to set our Detective Kubu books in Botswana, we knew little about the details of the country, even though both of us had visited it. So we hit the books.

Of particular interest were the Bushman cultures. We both had a great admiration for the Bushmen and an extreme distaste for how they'd been treated. (For example, less than a hundred years ago, one could buy a license to hunt them.) Partly for that reason, partly because they are a significant group in Botswana, and partly because their culture is so different from almost anything in the West, we’ve given them a major role in a number of our books, including A Deadly Covenant, the mystery we’ve just released. In fact, the backstory of our third mystery, Death of the Mantis, is all about Bushman culture and an effort to ensure it doesn’t disappear. That book was short-listed for an Edgar.

Our research uncovered many intriguing aspects of Bushman life – far too many to include here. However, since the Jungle Red Writers are often pre-occupied with killing people, or at least thinking about killing people, we thought we’d discuss one poison that a number of Bushman groups have used in their hunting. It is so lethal that it is the Bushman equivalent of the nuclear deterrent policy. That idea is if the major powers all have arsenals of nuclear weapons, none will start a war because it would guarantee mutual destruction. Similarly, for the Bushmen, the fact that different groups had this poison prevented them from fighting each other. Since there is no known antidote, mutual destruction would be assured.

The poison is used for hunting, and the main reason for having such a powerful poison is that Bushman bows are quite rudimentary and do not have the power to kill a large animal outright. Instead, the Bushmen have discovered several remarkable poisons that they use on their arrows. The animal then runs off, and the hunter has to run after it until the poison has enough effect to drop it. This can be hours or even days in the case of an eland, for example, which is a huge antelope that can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. Even though the poison can bring down a large animal, the meat is safe to eat.

The most intriguing of the poisons is the one from Diamphidia nigroornata beetles, which lay their eggs on the branches of the Commiphora trees in the frankincense and myrrh family.


They then cover the eggs with their own faeces, creating a hard shell when dry. Eventually the larvae shed their protection and burrow up to a metre into the sand next to the tree, where they make a cocoon from sand. It may take several years before they molt into pupae.



The Bushmen dig up the larvae and pupae and gently squeeze and combine the liquids in a container. When they are ready to hunt, they apply the poison, not to the tip of the arrow in case they nick themselves, but rather to the base of the arrowhead.

Several things about this astonished us. First, how did the Bushmen eons ago discover the larvae buried so deep in the sand? Second, how did they figure out that the liquids inside the larvae were toxic if they got into the bloodstream, but safe if ingested? Finally, one can only wonder how many Bushmen died before they figured all this out.

The design of the arrows is also clever. Because the shot animal often runs through scrub and bush, and because resources in the Kalahari are few and far between, the arrows that Bushmen use have two parts: the head with the poison and the shaft. When an animal is hit and starts running, the main shaft falls off and is reusable. The part with the poison remains fixed in the animal and is retrieved when the animal collapses. Surprisingly, the arrows don't have flights, which means that the hunter has to get very close to his prey before shooting. One theory we read about is that the legendary clicks of the Bushman languages evolved as a form of communication that wouldn’t spook animals. .





Our new Detective Kubu mystery, A Deadly Covenant, is set near Tsodilo Hills, which the Bushmen regard as the birthplace of humankind. While digging a trench for a new water project, a backhoe operator unearths the skeleton of a long dead Bushman. Kubu and Scottish pathologist, Ian MacGregor, are sent to sort out the formalities, but the situation rapidly gets out of hand. MacGregor discovers eight more skeletons—a massacre of Bushmen including women and children. However, the locals deny any knowledge of the event.

When an elder of the village is murdered at his home, the local police believe it was the result of a robbery gone wrong. Kubu thinks otherwise. So does an elderly woman who believes it was the work of Mami Wata, a powerful river spirit. When she dies in an apparent crocodile attack, suspicions rise.

Things become still more complicated when a mysterious Bushman appears at the massacre site, collapses, then disappears again, but seems connected to the murders in some way.

Kubu’s boss, Assistant Superintendent Mabaku, joins them as accusations of corruption are levelled at the water project, and international anger builds over the massacre of the Bushman families. But they have no idea how the recent murders link to the dead Bushmen. As they investigate, they uncover a deadly covenant made many years before by an unknown group, and they begin to fear that their own lives may be in danger.

Once again, Bushmen play a key role in a Detective Kubu mystery!

DEBS: I want to know how the Bushmen discovered that you had to mix the two liquids together!

Michael Stanley is actually the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, and if you're curious about their academic pasts, and how they ended up writing about Botswana, here's more--

Both are retired professors who have worked in academia and business. Sears is a mathematician, specializing in geological remote sensing. Trollip is an educational psychologist, specializing in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and a pilot. They were both born in South Africa.

They have been on a number of flying safaris to Botswana and Zimbabwe, where it was always exciting to buzz a dirt airstrip to shoo the elephants off. They have had many adventures on these trips including tracking lions at night, fighting bush fires on the Savuti plains in northern Botswana, being charged by an elephant, and having their plane’s door pop open over the Kalahari, scattering navigation maps over the desert. These trips have fed their love both for the bush, and for Botswana.

It was on one of these trips that the idea surfaced for a novel set in Botswana.

Here's Michael.


And Stan!


I was so sorry to have missed them at Bouchercon!

Stan and Michael will be dropping in to chat and answer your questions, and will give away a copy of A DEADLY COVENANT to one lucky commenter!


64 comments:

  1. Michael and Stan, your book sounds quite intriguing and I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Isn’t it wonderful that writers love to research . . . and readers get to learn all that stuff they never knew just because they read the book? So, how did the Bushmen discover the beetles’ cocoons so deep in the sand?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My guess is that since Bushmen are known to be so observant and knowledgable about nature, they noticed when the larvae left the tree and went burrowing. I can easily imagine them eating the larvae since food can be so scarce in the desert. And eating the larvae is safe as far as we can determine. It's the net step that's a puzzle - discovering that the liquid from larvae is lethal when introduced to the bloodstream. Did someone nick themselves and the liquid inadvertently get into the wound? And the Bushman died? What a puzzle!

      Delete
  2. I'd love to know how you guys started writing together. Did you know each other before?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debs, Michael and I met in the late 1970s through a mutual friend when I returned to Johannesburg one year on a consulting gig. When I moved to Minneapolis for a job at the University of Minnesota, we met again because Michael was there on sabbatical with the Department of Mathematics. I'm a decent cook and he wasn't, so I had to feed him occasionally. That's when we discover we shared many interests - food and wine, travel, the bush, reading. On some of these trips back to South Africa, I'd rent a small plane, fill it with friends, and head off to Botswana and Zimbabwe for bird- and game-watching. It was on one of those trips that we got the idea for writing a mystery together.

      Delete
    2. That was when we watched a pack of hyenas kill and consume a wildebeest. They ate it all - every scrap except the horns and hoofs. What a great way to get rid of a body, we thought, probably after a good deal of wine...

      Delete
  3. Fascinating! Love me a good poison.

    I'm sure 'Bushman' is an Anglo word for these people. What is the actual name of the tribe and of their language? Do they speak Setswana? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We struggled mightily to decide what word to use. 'Bushman' is the English translation of the word 'Boesman' - a pejorative Dutch word for these people. 'Basarwa' is the Setswana word, but is also pejorative. In academic circles, Khoi-San is often used - Khoi referring to the groups who generally live in one place; San referring to the nomadic groups. However, San can also be pejorative. So what do they call themselves? As far as we could determine, they don't have a name, probably because there were lots of small groups, rather than a community. It was more 'we' and 'they'. We eventually decided on Bushman because we felt more Westerners would understand who we were referring to.

      Delete
  4. Michael and Stan, welcome. "Covenant" is a word with religious implications. Is religion involved?

    The story sounds dangerous and intriguing, covering a culture that I know very little about. I'm looking for your books this morning. They will be different from everything else I am reading.

    When you traveled to Botswana, were you there for research or was it a vacation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judy, certainly 'covenant' has religious connotations. However, it means 'an agreement' more generally. Both of us went to Botswana initially as tourists. When we started writing the Detective Kubu series, we returned frequently for research. We think it is important to visit every place we use in our books, almost more for the feel of the place rather than for its physical appearance.

      Delete
  5. Welcome Michael and Stan! that is some creepy research you had to do! I've enjoyed your books since meeting Stan at a booksigning some years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are actually a variety of different poisons they use in different places. So lots of options!

      Delete
  6. Having just heard Alexander McCall-Smith's Bouchercon interview, Botswana has been uppermost in my mind lately. How wonderful to know there's another, darker series set in that amazing country.

    The clicking language is fascinating, and thank you for the factoid about it being developed to communicate without scaring prey. What a lot of energy they have to expend in order to find food. It's truly remarkable.

    When we were in the Masai Mara last year my grandson took part in "warrior training", and we were invited to join in. The bows and arrows are mighty precious in that sparsely wooded place, and it's impressive that the Bushmen have developed breakaway arrowheads to preserve the shafts. It's also much more difficult to hit what you're aiming at with that type of bow and arrow, we found. Humbling!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time to move Botswana from your mind to the travel plan! It is a remarkable country.

      Delete
    2. Definitely! Botswana is simply terrific! A Deadly Covenant is set near the Okavango Delta which is one of the best wild life areas in the world!

      Delete
  7. Good morning gentlemen, yes Debs is correct, today is very different from yesterday and your story sounds very different within mystery too. I am intrigued. I like to say Brit born, US adopted when introducing myself, the Brit me grew up as a colonial living in Ghana, and Burundi as well as other points in the Empire! But I wish I had had more exposure to local life. Being able to High Life doesn’t really qualify one other than partying. Thank se days a long behind me I fear. So I look forward to feeding my ignorance with Covenant and learning more about the Bushmen. I’m guessing their tribe name/s are untranslatable clicks. - Celia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contrary to what I wrote above about the word 'Bushman', there are names for related groups. These names are very click rich: !Kung and ǂKxʼaoǁʼae, for example. The non-letters represent different clicks. Here is an example of the clicks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6WO5XabD-s

      Delete
    2. You may also enjoy Kwei Quartey's Ghana mysteries if you haven't read them already.

      Delete
  8. Really interesting and so intriguing. How did the Bushmen figure the poison out? We'll probably never know. Your travel adventures are mind boggling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gillian, travel has always been a priority of mine - most of my adult life, I've rather spent money on that than on new cars, fancy furniture, etc. I've been very fortunate. With respect to the books, we've visited everywhere we've written about, more to sense the feel of the place than for its physical appearance.

      Delete
  9. Michael Stanley writes mysteries?! But Michael Stanley is a rock band--from my neck of the woods! Just kidding--this series is right up my reading alley. I will be checking to see what else I've missed in this series.

    When your ancestors and you have lived in an environment for thousands of years, your knowledge of the land and its resources will be one of the reasons you've endured. I read a fascinating book about ultra-marathoners--those who run 100-mile+ races. Ultra-marathoners have tried to run with San hunters to figure out how they can go for such distances tracking game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flora, your comment sparks two responses. First, when we won a Barry Award for Death of the Mantis, whose backstory is about the Bushmen, it was awarded in rock-star Michael Stanley's home town of Cleveland. Even better, it was awarded in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!
      Second, one of the things Bushmen hunters did in order to run after an animal they'd shot was to chew a plant called hoodia. It is reputed to give energy as well as suppress appetite. The catalyst of our Dying to Live mystery was the stealing of this indigenous knowledge by Westerners for profit (called biopiracy). In the book, an old wizened Bushman is found dead by the side of the road. Initially the police think he's died of old age. However, bruising makes them suspicious, so the body is sent to Gaborone for an autopsy. The forensic pathologist is astonished to find the organs of a young man inside the old body. He also finds a bullet lodged in an abdominal muscle. However, there's no entry wound.

      Imagine what would happen if people believed the old man had discovered a plant that prolonged life.

      Delete
    2. I love the idea of a story focused on biopiracy. There is an image in anthropology of an Indiana Jones-like character (it's always a swashbuckling male, of course) who journeys into the jungles etc searching for exotic plants for their curative value. I was so happy when that was replaced by anthropologists (and archaeologists) working with indigenous people to preserve and enhance their repertoire of deep knowledge of their culture and environment.

      Delete
    3. And, WAY COOL to be awarded your BARRY in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!

      Delete
    4. That book just moved up on my list, Stan. What a fascinating subject.

      Delete
  10. Oh my goodness, standing ovation! What a joy to see you here… As you know I am such a fan. This is absolutely fascinating, and brilliant, and so intriguing about how knowledge evolves and why. Because they had a goal of needing to catch prey, and then worked out these weapons to do that. And so clever, that the arrows come apart. I’m going back to read this post again now…

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. And a standing ovation for you too for the splendid job you did last evening for Strand Magazine's Critics Awards. One of the benefits of researching different cultures is the likelihood of stumbling upon fascinating facts and behaviours.

      Delete
    2. Oh, I did not see you! Rats. I scrolled through the pages quickly scouting for pals, and I did not see you! Yes, that is always fun :-) xxx

      Delete
    3. And awwwww thank you so much for the kind words!

      Delete
  11. Welcome, Michael and Stan! Like others, I'm fascinated how the Bushmen discovered the mixture of liquids was poisonous when it gets into the bloodstream. I guess that's part of the joy of research - trying to answer that kind of question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely right. And maybe making up stories that might be the answer. My guess is someone nicked himself after digging up and probably eating one of the grubs. Pretty gruesome.

      Delete
  12. Fascinating! I’d like to hear more… were you able to interview modern tribe members? Men and women?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’s me, hallie ephron - blogger is being a PITA

      Delete
    2. Hi Hallie: we have similar PITAs with our blogger-based Murder Is Everywhere blog.

      We were ambivalent about doing those interviews. Most of the information from books and research articles we read came about through interviews through translators. Consequently, it seemed to us that some of the reporting was erroneous, either through misunderstanding or because people often say what they think the listener wants to hear. We visited a cultural centre near Ghanzi in Botswana, as well as a village called New Xade the government had built for the Bushman - a very sad place indeed. However, we did not sit down with any Bushmen to interview them.

      Delete
  13. Stan and Michael, Welcome to JRW! I am currently reading the Song of Comfortable Chairs (set in Botswana) by Alexander McCall Smith. Your novels are new to me. And congratulations on your publication!

    May I ask how are your books different from the Ladies No. One Detective Agency series set in Botswana?

    Diana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the PITA syndrome is affecting me too. I responded earlier to your question. McCall Smith's book are very cozy. Ours are darker with each book using a real contemporary issue as a backstory. Since we write murder mysteries, there has to be violence, but we don't have gratuitous violence and generally prefer to leave it to the reader to imagine what happened.

      Delete
    2. thank you. It was Karen in Ohio who you replied to. Smile. Whenever I think of Botswana, I tjink of McCall Smith. I appreciate you Not having gratuitous violence in your books.

      Diana

      Delete
  14. Welcome! What a fascinating interview. Your novel sounds captivating and intriguing. The setting is amazing and unique. How many trips do you go on every year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We' went to Botswana every year at least once until the pandemic hit. So haven't been there for a few years. Time to rectify that situation. Outside that, I just love to travel, anywhere anytime. When I hit the jackpot, I'm going to set up a scholarship program to send kids overseas for a year - provide return air ticket and a little spending money, but encourage them to make their own way. They and the world will be in a better place.

      Delete
  15. Welcome! This research is new and unknown? Very interesting to follow. Love this locale.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have to ask the perennial question for writing teams, Stan--how does your collaboration work? Do you alternate scenes, chapters, drafts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debs, we both do everything. Typically when we are planning a book, we will get together in person. (Michael lives in Knysna on the South African south coast, and I spend time in Minneapolis, Cape Town and Denmark.) The purpose of this is to establish the backstory and a 100,000 foot idea of what the story is going to be. As we are pantsers, we let the story guide us. Then, at any point of time, we are both writing a piece - a piece being a part of a chapter, a chapter, or occasionally several chapters. When finished we send it to the other for severe editing. When it comes back, the original writer reviews the edit and suggestions and reworks the piece. This can happen 15 or 20 times. So it's a slower process than writing alone. The irritating thing is that whenever I send Michael a piece of which I am particularly proud, it inevitably comes back red-lined. (He killed my darling.) When people ask how two people can write fiction together, we respond that that is the wrong question. The better question is how can a person write alone. So lonely! We have support, brainstorming, built-in editors, and a lot of fun. Of course, one has to have trust and a thick skin!

      Delete
  17. And did the pandemic slow down your writing process, since you couldn't travel to do research?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It did to some extent. The book is set on the Kavango River in an area we visited a long time ago. We didn't have the opportunity to revisit it so had to rely on correspondence with a resort where we set some scenes and, of course, Google maps. However, I wrote a book by myself, Wolfman, featuring investigative reporter Crystal Nguyen in the northwoods of Minnesota. She wants to put an end to the illegal killing of endangered grey wolves. I wrote a draft of this when trying to make sense of her character and motivations when Michael and I were struggling with a book about rhino poaching and rhino-horn smuggling. It's called Shoot the Bastards. Did you know that a horn for a mature rhino has a street value of over $400,000? Makes everyone a suspect!

      Delete
  18. How delightful to see another Detective Kubu mystery! I remember being so excited to read the first, A CARRION DEATH, which, as I recall, was a major give-away at Bouchercon that year. Ross and I had been on safari in the delta in Botswana, and I loved finding crime fiction set in that part of the world.

    As to Bushmen figuring out how to use this obscure larvae product to create a deadly poison - and then coming up with the technology to deliver it to its intended target without wasting labor and resources, all I can say is: humans are smart. Most of us in the 21st century forget that, because all our technology is outsourced, but whenever I read about pre-modern cultures, I'm amazed at how clever people could be when everyone had to engineer solutions to problems themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julia: I think we would all be better off if we took the time to reflect on our place in nature. That's what pre-modern peoples had to do. I shake my head at the phrase 'Save the planet.' I agree with the sentiment, but it is ourselves we have to save. Earth will be here long after we're gone.

      Delete
  19. I'm happy to find a new to me series set in a locale that fascinates me. I will start with the first book.

    Regarding your comment above about biopiracy, I was pleased to learn that my alma mater (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) now has a Center for Native People and the Environment. Indigenous students can study there and combine indigenous wisdom about the environment with modern science. It's partially funded by Alfred G. Sloan Foundation (also a donor for PBS). The CNPE is headed by Robin Kimmerer who wrote BRAIDING SWEETGRASS.

    Recognition and support of indigenous wisdom is long overdue around the globe.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That is so good to hear about! Coincidentally, the top book on my TBR pile is BRAIDING SWEETGRASS.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow, thank you, Michael and Stan! A new to me series that sounds very interesting and so many new rabbit holes to fall down. See you on the other side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Talking of rabbit holes.....Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of two books that had a profound influence on my writing: Alice for its brilliant imagination, and On the Beach by Nevil Shute for gripping me so much that I thought I'd never wake up the next day. So when my father brought me tea in the morning, I couldn't work out what was going on.

      Delete
  22. You had me at "hello." Hahaha! Actually, you had me when I clicked on your web site before reading this post. It's such an informative, engaging web site with its information about both of you and your books. And, the link to other books, other than your own, about/set in parts of Africa and the link to Michael's "African Scene" in The Big Thrill Magazine. As if your post here about your new book and the bushmen weren't enough of a rabbit hole. You can be sure that I will be reading A Deadly Covenant. Of course, I am kicking myself that I haven't discovered the two of you before now. I feel as if I've had my head stuck in the sand.

    And, thanks to Debs for asking questions that I wanted answers to, too. One other thing. I find it so interesting that the two of you know so much about Africa and yet choose a part of it with which you aren't familiar. That's loving research and being academic for sure. But, is there any other reason you chose to do that. Maybe a goal of knowing every corner of Africa?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, there are two reasons we set the series in Botswana. First, that is where we had the idea to write a mystery together. On one of my flying safaris, we watched a pack of hyenas hunt and kill a wildebeest (gnu). They are ferocious hunters when the can't scavenge. In about 3 to 4 hours, the wildebeest had disappeared - hyenas eat the flesh and the bones. Over a glass of wine or two that evening, we realised that if we ever wanted to get rid of a body . . . No body, no case. We decided that was a great premise for a murder mystery and decided to see whether we could write one. Being typical academics, we had to ponder the idea, and eventually started the great Botswana novel about fifteen years later. Needless to say, it opens with a body being consumed by a hyena.

      The second, reason is that if you sets mysteries in South Africa, it is inevitable that you have to deal with the aftermath of apartheid. Since there are so many good South African writers already doing that, we though we'd free ourselves from that curse and set the book n Botswana, where we could address other interesting issues facing that part of the world. So each of our stories has a contemporary issue as a backstory.

      Delete
    2. Stan, I've just recently become more interested in mystery/crime fiction set in Africa, both older books and current. Next year I'll be contributing some reviews to an African-themed issue of a mystery/crime publication. This book will definitely be one I'll read and review, as I'm looking to expand my reading in that area. I really feel rather stupid not be familiar with your books before now, but that's also the joy of reading, to discover authors new to me, even if they're not new authors. I just read a fantastic book set in 1964 in Tanzania. I won't mention the name or author because this post should be about you and Michael (the author's initials are CB.) The reason I mention another book at all is because of a scene in it where hyenas attack a man and how vicious it is. The character remarks how surprisingly strong the hyenas are, and when one bites his arm, it crushes the bone. I didn't know that these animals ate the entirety of their kills. Gruesome, but fascinating. I feel like I've discovered an absolute treasure trove in today's post with you and Michael. Thank you.

      Delete
    3. Hyenas have the strongest bite of any animal. Elspeth Huxley had a hyena in one of her East Africa mysteries from the 1930s. They are very good reads. We mention some of our favourite African authors in a blog we did recently over at Kings River Life. I'm sure you know them however. https://kingsriverlife.com/08/31/what-we-expected-was-all-wrong/

      Delete
    4. I think you'll find some stunning mysteries set in Africa. I really enjoy "meeting" the authors from elsewhere in Africa. For example, try Femui Kayode's Lightseekers" set in Nigeria.

      Delete
  23. This info will be stowed away in the things you might need to know someday file, along with how to skin a giraffe, and how to ford a river in a VW. Fascinating. And you do wonder how the Bushmen discovered this poison. Perhaps observed predators wouldn't eat the larvae? The mechanics of the arrows are ingenious and where to put the poison is common sense, probably learned the hard way. Your series sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for visiting today!

    ReplyDelete
  24. We can only speculate how they found out about it. I don't think it was eating the larvae because the poison has to get into the bloodstream. The stomach is okay - except if you have an ulcer perhaps.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm back again. You only have yourselves to blame though. In looking at the Detective Kubu books on your web site, #7 and #8 are listed as prequels. Should I read #7 before #8 then? And, of course, I'm champing at the bit to read #1, with the hyena opening. I have a reading list (of to-be-read-before-the-end-of-2022 books) that is already impossibly long. Of course, who needs sleep, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably worth reading Facets of Death before A Deadly Covenant, for Kubu's personal growth issues rather than detection issues.

      Delete
  26. Fascinating! Incredible how they've figured out how to kill so effectively. I wonder if it was an accident. Congrats, on you release!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for an interesting post, Michael and Stan. I am ignorant about Africa in general, so I'm delighted to hear about your well-researched books. My only exposure to a Bushman culture is through the 1980 movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, which I realize was set in South Africa and starred a Namibian man, It was also probably very inaccurate, but it certainly made me interested in the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. Now, thanks to your books, I can get some more accurate information about the Bushman culture in Botswana. Looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I thought The Gods Must Be Crazy was great and funny at the time. I'm sure it's dated now - at least for the humour. However, many of the Bushman scenes are good and represent some traits very well. For example, Bushmen fear jealousy and often give away anything special that someone may covet. In the movie, it is the coke bottle that falls from the sky. I watched it recently and still enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete