Peter J Earle
Review: Brian Joss
Botswana seems to be fertile ground for fictional detectives: think the series featuring Inspector David “Hippo” Bengu and Mma Precious Ramotswe, the owner of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, written by Michael Stanley and Alexander McCall Smith respectively.
Enter Dice Modise, a detective sergeant in Botswana’s CID, who, while poling his mokoro (type of canoe) on the Boro River in the Okavango Delta to visit his extended family at Moporotong village, is attacked by an enraged hippo.
But he is rescued by Nick Cahill, a guide, who with his two brothers owns Cahill Safaris and the two develop a firm friendship.
Meanwhile, a wealthy British tea importer, Henry Barton, dies mysteriously in a hunting accident in the Okavango.
However, Carrie Fells, who learns that Barton is her father and to whom he leaves the bulk of his fortune, much to the dismay of family members, is not convinced that his death was an accident, and she flies to Botswana to try to uncover the truth.
Then, Ingi Herder is raped by three men who believe that the cure for Aids is sleeping with white women. There are more murders; another death, which may have been caused by a venomous snake; and then Carrie goes missing. So it’s up to Dice and Cahill, to find the killers.
Hunter’s Venom is a fast paced thriller with credible characters, plenty of surprises and twists and turns.
It’s a great “airport read”, which will grip you until the last page. What a pity then there are so many editing and proofing errors: door jam (jamb); sited (cited), busses (buses); aught (ought); loosing (losing) and plashes (splashes), just to name some.