A Beautiful Place to Die: An Emmanuel Cooper Mystery

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jan 6, 2009 - Fiction - 384 pages
2 Reviews
Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.

In a morally complex tale rich with authenticity, Nunn takes readers to Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique. It is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing a nation into black and white while supposedly healing the political rifts between the Afrikaners and the English. Tensions simmer as the fault line between the oppressed and the oppressors cuts deeper, but it's not until an Afrikaner police officer is found dead that emotions more dangerous than anyone thought possible boil to the surface.

When Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder, his mission is preempted by the powerful police Security Branch, who are dedicated to their campaign to flush out black communist radicals. But Detective Cooper isn't interested in political expediency and has never been one for making friends. He may be modest, but he radiates intelligence and certainly won't be getting on his knees before those in power. Instead, he strikes out on his own, following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius, a man whose relationships with the black and coloured residents of the town he ruled were more complicated and more human than anyone could have imagined.

The first in her Detective Emmanuel Cooper series, A Beautiful Place to Die marks the debut of a talented writer who reads like a brilliant combination of Raymond Chandler and Graham Greene. It is a tale of murder, passion, corruption, and the corrosive double standard that defined an apartheid nation. I

What people are saying - Write a review

Haunting Debut!

User Review  - Deanna P, Mystery Buyer - Borders

The setting is 1952, in a town called Jacob’s Rest, on the border of South Africa and Mozambique. It is the early days of apartheid and the country is one divided by racial lines. It is against this ... Read full review

Review: A Beautiful Place To Die (Detective Emmanuel Cooper #1)

User Review  - Carolyn - Goodreads

"A Beautiful Place to Die: A Novel","Malla Nunn" "This is an excellent, Edgar Award nominated mystery. I felt it was well written, with an excellent sense of place and characters who seemed very real ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2009)

Malla Nunn was born in Swaziland, South Africa, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a filmmaker with three award-winning films to her credit and is currently at work on her next novel.

Bibliographic information