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Charles Cilliers Picks His Top Ten South African Crime Fiction Novels

City Press books editor, Charles Cilliers, has picked his ten best South African crime fiction novels. Books LIVE members Andrew Brown, Mike Nicol, Rosamund Kendal, Jassy Mackenzie, Margie Orford, Sarah Lotz and Angela Makholwa all get a mention as do Sifiso Mzobe, Deon Meyer and Roger Smith.

Coldsleep LullabyYoung BloodBlack HeartThe Murder of Norman Ware7 Days
Random ViolenceCaptureLike ClockworkRed InkExhibit A

Cilliers calls Kendal’s The Murder of Norman Ware “Quirky and utterly unique” and says that Lotz’s Exhibit A “is a great introduction to anyone unfamiliar with her clever, witty style.” He comments that Makholwa’s Red Ink “sizzles in a sexy, jazzy Joburg setting, and her new crime thriller (out next month), Black Widow Society, about a woman’s support group that murders errant husbands, looks even better.” He recommends 7 Days as the easiest way to get into Meyer’s series featuring Benny Griessel.

Read all of Cilliers’ recommendations:

1. Coldsleep Lullaby: Andrew Brown, Zebra Press, 272 pages, R160. Brown tells two stories set in Stellenbosch. One is in the present, the other in the 17th century. In the present day, detective Eberard Februarie investigates the case of a young woman’s body found drifting in a river. He has problems of his own, but is soon pulled into a surprising underworld of sexual hedonism in the sleepy university town. The tale from the Dutch settler past, about a cruel, slave-owning wine maker who takes an unhealthy interest in the Boorman family’s daughter, sets in motion events that connect, centuries later, with Februarie’s case. The depictions of the past are detailed and convincing and Brown captures the flavour of modern South Africa perfectly too.

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