Genial gourmand, Det. Kubu investigates cultural conflict along with murder in the Kalahari.

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Genre Fiction Finalist:

Death of the Mantis

Michael Stanley

Harper/HarperCollins Publishers

Category Sponsor: Marvin Windows and Doors


In Botswana, detective David “Kubu” Bengu investigates a string of bizarre murders which implicate a nomadic bushman tribe. Clues take the intrepid Kubu to the depths of the Kalahari Desert, where what he discovers will test all his powers of detection…and his ability to remain alive.

An excerpt from Death of the Mantis:

The desert glowed in the dawn light. The Bushman boy woke from a deep sleep, still tired from the exertions of the last days. His father was already up, standing like a sentry, watching the sun creep above the horizon.

“We must go on, Gobiwasi,” he said. “We will reach The Place today. We must travel while it is still cool. Here, chew on this as we go.” He handed the boy a chunk of hoodia.

For the boy it had been a journey of heat, of sun, of exhaustion, as he tried day after day to keep up with his father. But he had offered no complaint, and now felt the thrill of discovery ahead. Today he would be at The Place! Very few people had ever seen it or even knew about it! He gathered up his few belongings, gnawed the root, and tried to match his father’s easy pace.

Click here to hear an audio excerpt from the newest Detective Kubu mystery, read by the authors.




Michael Stanley is the pen name of retired professors Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Sears lives in South Africa, and Trollip splits his time between Africa and Minneapolis. Death of the Mantis is the pair’s third novel.


“Fantastic scene-setting; the Kalahari Desert is as much a character as the detective and suspects.”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge

 “Readers may be lured to Africa by the landscape, but it takes a great character like Kubu to win our loyalty.”
New York Times Book Review

“Kubu’s third recorded case is again alive with local color and detail and, refreshingly, offers his fullest mystery plot yet.”
– Kirkus Reviews


MPR correspondent Euan Kerr sat down with Michael Stanley – the writing duo of Michael Sears and Stan Trollip – the week of Death of the Mantis’ debut. Click here to learn how the pair is able to collaborate on book projects while Trollip is in Minnesota and Sears is in South Africa – over 8,000 miles away!


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read Death of the Mantis? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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