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Friday, September 19, 2008

Reading Notes : A Beautiful Place To Die by Malla Nunn

There have been a number of high quality debut Australian book releases in the last couple of months that have come my way. I’m gradually getting to each one and have been impressed by all of them.

A particularly strong novel is A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (Pan Macmillan Australia), a murder mystery set in South Africa in the 1950s. The time and setting are significant because of the Racial Segregation laws that were in place at the time. The story explores these laws throughout the book and the attitudes of characters play a major role in the tone of the book and in the story’s outcome.

A Beautiful Place To Die introduces police detective Emmanuel Cooper who is called to a small town to investigate the murder of the town’s police captain. What he has walked into, though is a dangerously poised tinderbox of emotions as the sons of the dead man deal with their rage and grief by looking for someone to blame. Their attention sits squarely on the black community and Cooper is forced to act as the voice of reason, unsure of the authority he might be able to exert in such a remote town.

Moving in to take over are the police Security Branch, the feared enforcers of the racial laws that rule the land. Their intention is to find the kind of suspect that suits their needs, which leaves it up to Cooper to work surreptitiously to find the true murderer, regardless of the colour of his skin.

The story builds quickly in intensity as pressure is placed on Emmanuel - and not from the direction you would expect it to come. This is obviously a heartfelt subject for the author and it is told with great style.


Anonymous said...

I like murder mysteries but lack of time keeps me away from such books.

Ahmed said...

As it was in the Anthony Proviano Case - Belmont County Ohio I believe a “Suicide” is really a MURDER.

Paul Edward Ault’s ‘ruled suicide’ on Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 in Bellaire, Belmont County could well have been a murder.

Landlord Ault
[Don’t expect the “Official” records to show Ault as the owner – it could be MEA Properties or Rivertowne Lim. Inc. and if so – just try and find these companies ANYWHERE in the world]
[917 Main St., Wheeling, WV (The Mary Elizabeth Apartments – most of the top two floors)]
to members of a terrorist religious cult whose doctrines promote the ‘…elimination, of those that are not completely cooperative, DURING VIOLENT STORMS’
and Mr. Ault died during a horrible thunderstorm not long after telling members of the cult that he was not interested in selling them the 917 property.
The cult uses, by becoming members, established religious organizations as shields for their varied illegalities.

If any responsible parties care to investigate this matter, be forewarned – you will not find a more entrenched Good Old Boys (Dining well in the Tenderloin District) network than that in the Wheeling/Belmont County area. Expect nothing but indifference, at best, and interference from the ‘local’ authorities.

That is all I know and suspect in this matter.

However I have little doubt that this will go into the ‘Got away with murder’ category because if Mr. Proviano’s parents had not been
well-connected, in the Pittsburgh area, with plenty of money and a desire to fight for justice for their son’s murderer NOTHING would have been done.

Here’s another twist – the 917 property was formerly owned by cult leader Stanley Klos owner of Wheeling’s Victoria Theater.