Who’s who of South African crime writing

Mike Nicol's compilation of local crime writers par excellence and their first-class crime-fighting protagonists

07 January 2019 - 11:45 By Mike Nicol
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© Mike Nicol, 2016

As and when, Crime Beat updates the Who's Who of South African Crime Writing to include new names and titles. More than forty writers are now featured on the list.

During 2008 a debate conducted on the blog on whether crime fiction shouldn’t rather be called thrillers or even crime thrillers resulted in a slight bias towards the thriller tag although Crime Beat now tends towards crime thrillers.

A compromise.

That said, we decided to expand the Who's Who to include thriller writers – including in that category espionage fiction – and have also added writers working in other official languages.

Among these is an appendix of Sepedi detective stories and a link to a critical assessment of their work. The Golden Age of Sepedi crime fiction seems to have coincided with the later apartheid years as the books by these writers ceased in the early 1990s.

The Who's Who list remains eccentric as the adventure writers – Wilbur Smith, Geoffrey Jenkins, Alan Scholefield, Siegfried Stander, Jon Burmeister – have been included although not all their titles.

The slant is still towards South African settings so this (and the thriller label) have brought Gillian Slovo onto the list with the first of her Kate Baeier series, Morbid Symptoms and her two thrillers, Betrayal and Red Dust.

Some of the writers now included are not available in English, namely the Afrikaans contingent – François Bloemhof, Dirk Jordaan, Harry Kalmer, Riana Mouton, Chanette Paul, Piet Steyn, Quintus van der Merwe – and the highly prolific Meshack Masondo who was well known to thousands of Zulu readers. A short story of his in English can be found in the anthology Bad Company,as is one by Dirk Jordaan.

The Who's Who also lists the ‘crimefighters’ who have appeared in those novels more closely associated with the crime genre. Again this is an eccentric selection and open to debate.


ANONYMOUS A writer in the Kwela stable with a high public profile. The publisher and the author felt that this might distract from the book’s political message. Novel: One Man (2014)

Muff ANDERSSON A Johannesburg journalist, Bite of the Banshee was Andersson’s debut fiction venture although she had written an account of popular South African music, Music in the Mix (1981). At the time there was talk of her writing a crime trilogy with number two, ‘Who is Tapping Dimitri Gallo’s Phones’, expected in 2004 although it has yet to appear. Novel: Bite of the Banshee (2002)

Sally ANDREW A former environmental activist, she lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve in the Klein Karoo. Andrew plans a series with her character, Tannie Maria. Novels: Recipes for Love and Murder (2015); Tannie Maria & the Satanic Mechanic (2016)

François BLOEMHOF The proud human ‘pet’ of three cats, François Bloemhof is the author of more than 40 Afrikaans books for adults, teenagers and young readers. He has won several prizes for his work. Bloemhof lives with his cats in Durbanville, Cape Town. Only his crime thrillers are listed. Novels: Die nag het net een oog (1991), Die duiwel se tuin (1993), Kouesoen (1994), Bloedbroer (1995), Storieboek (1996), Nagbesoeker (1997), Hostis (1998), Klipgooi (1999), ’n Tweede Asem vir Jan A (2001), Spinnerak (2006), Jagseisoen (2007), Rooi Luiperd (2008), Harde Woorde (2009), Die Onbekendes (2010), Double Echo (2016)

Andrew BROWN Winner of the prestigious 2006 Sunday Times Literary Award. Brown’s novel could probably best be described as straddling two genres, as it is characterised by some lyrical ‘literary’ writing but also features a cop battling his demons. Andrew Brown, an advocate, lives in Cape Town. In August 2008 he published a non-fiction crime work, Street Blues: The Experiences of a Reluctant Policeman about his time as a police reservist. In 2014 he published a thriller set in South Sudan and the UK, Devil’s Harvest. Novels: Coldsleep Lullaby (2005), Refuge (2010), Solace (2012)

Karin BRYNARD Winner of a Via Afrika Literary Award and the 2010 M-Net Prize for her novel, Plaasmoord, Brynard has a reputation as an astute political journalist. She works on a freelance basis and lives in Stellenbosch. Her books are due to be translated into English. Plaasmoord appeared as Weeping Waters in 2014. Novels: Plaasmoord (2009), Onse Vaders (2012), Weeping Waters (2014), Our Fathers (2016)

Jon BURMEISTER One of the Eastern Cape’s most successful writers, Burmeister produced more than a dozen high adventure thrillers from The Edge of the Sky (1968) to The Plekhanov Original(1989). His novel Running Scared was made into a movie,Tigers Don’t Cry, starring Anthony Quinn. In 2001 Burmeister died at the age of 68 in a shooting accident at his home. Of note: Running Scared (1972)

Brandon CARSTENS A Cape Town resident, Carstens created his own publishing house to launch his (and South Africa’s) first crime graphic novel. Novel: Project H (2009)

Peter CHURCH After two decades in the IT industry, Church took time out to write a book. He set it in his home town, Cape Town, and at his old alma mater, UCT. Novels: Dark Video (2008), Bitter Pill (2011)

Amanda COETZEE When she isn’t writing crime thrillers, Coetzee works as a deputy headmistress. She grew up in Bedford, England, and now lives in Rustenburg with her husband and son. Her previous titles featuring the detective Harry O’Conner aka Badger are Bad BloodRedemption Song and Flaming June.One Shot sees her character in a South African setting for the first time.Novel:One Shot(2014)

Trevor R CORBETT A spook by profession, more exactly known as a counter-intelligence strategist for the State Security Agency, Corbett lives near Durban with his wife and two children. In good tradecraft fashion his location is not precise. He could be said to have laid the foundations of the contemporary SA espionage novel. Novels: An Ordinary Day (2010), Allegiance (2012)

Alan COWELL An award-winning New York Times journalist. He was assigned to Johannesburg in the mid-1980s and was awarded the prestigious George Polk Award for courageous reporting. The government of the day ordered him to leave in early 1987 and he was not allowed to return until the early 1990s. Since then he has been a regular visitor, most recently covering the Oscar Pistorius trial and anchoring coverage of the death of President Mandela. Novel: Permanent Removal (2016)

David DISON A Johannesburg denizen with a considerable reputation as a defamation and media lawyer. On behalf of the Weekly Mail, Dison fought numerous anti-censorship cases during the 1980s and represented detainees at the Delmas Treason Trial. The protagonist in his novel is also a lawyer, a man trying to find his place in the new country. Novel: Death in the New Republic (2007)

June DRUMMOND A veteran of the crime scene, June Drummond has garnered an international reputation for her crime novels over four decades. Although many of her novels were set in Britain, a number dealt with the local scene and cast a jaundiced eye on the apartheid state. Only these are listed. She died in Durban in June 2011. Novels: The Black Unicorn (1959), Welcome, Proud Lady (1964), Farewell Party (1971), Slowly the Poison (1975),The Patriots (1979), I Saw Him Die (1979), Junta (1989), Hidden Agenda (1993), Old Bones Buried Under (2007)

Wessel EBERSOHN Wessel Ebersohn made a considerable impact when his crime novels were launched onto the local scene in the early 1980s, introducing a character, Yudel Gordon, both eccentric and highly likeable for his dogmatic sense of moral indignation. Ebersohn is the editor and, with his wife, founder of Succeed magazine. He lives in Johannesburg. Novels: A Lonely Place to Die (1979), The Centurion (1980), Store Up the Anger (1980), Divide the Night (1981), Closed Circle (1990), The October Killings (2009), Those Who Love Night (2010), The Top Prisoner of C-Max (2012)

Kurt ELLIS His publisher’s biographical note says that Kurt Ellis was born in Durban but currently lives in Johannesburg with his wife and daughter. He has been a salesman, and may still be one.Novel: By Any Means (2014)

Barbara ERASMUS A nomadic freelance journalist who has decided to grow old in Cape Town with a few of the mountain, Erasmus published two novels, Kaleidoscope and Even with Insects, before turning to crime. Her latest novel,Chameleon, first appeared on Crime Beat as a blook. It was then published using ‘print on demand’ technology through Electric Book Works under the Book SA imprint. She is a founding editor of Crime Beat. Novel: Chameleon (2008)

Barbara FOLSCHER A well-known TV reporter in the turbulent years of the 1980s and early 1990s, Folscher now gives workshops on business writing at the London Business School. She and her family live in Oxford, UK. Novel: Blind Faith (2007)

Tracy GILPIN A journalist, Gilpin has worked the beat from townships to parliament and more recently was associated with the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and the Cape Town museum. She lives in Cape Town. She self-publishes on Amazon in English and German. Novel: Double Cross (2008)

H J GOLAKAI Born in Liberia, political strife has moved her and her family about the continent from her home country to Togo, Ghana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She spends time in Cape Town, the setting for her first novel. Novels: The Lazarus Effect (2011), The Score (2015)

Andrew GRAY With a background in accounting and a job as a legal advisor to a multi-national European industrial conglomerate, it is hardly surprising that Andrew Gray’s debut novel should focus on blood diamonds. For the Pretoria author it is less about the mean streets and more about the mean corridors of corporate power.The Fence was short listed for the Sunday Times Fiction Prize in 2008. Novel: The Fence (2007)

Joanne HICHENS A graduate of UCT’s Centre of Creative Writing, a short-story writer, a runner-up in a Sanlam competition for youth literature, and a contributor to newspapers and magazines. She compiled and edited the first ever anthology of South African crime stories, Bad Company (2009), and a follow-up anthology, Bloody Satisfied (2013). Hichens lives in Muizenberg and supervises a number of creative writing students. She self-published her third novel, Sweet Paradise. Novels: Out to Score (with Mike Nicol) (2006), Divine Justice (2011), Sweet Paradise (2015)

Jenny HOBBS Novelist, journalist and the power and energy behind the highly successful Franschhoek Literary Festival, this is her first crime novel and a spoof to boot. Novel: Napoleon’s Bones (2013)

Priscilla HOLMES The author of a YA novel, and the organiser of a creative writing workshop. Together with her writing group, The Write Girls, she has co-authored two other novels. She lives in Cape Town. Novel: Now I See You (2014)

Geoffrey JENKINS A life-long interest in sailing went to fuel many of the plots of Jenkins’ best-selling adventure thrillers which date from A Twist of Sand (1957) to A Daystar of Fear (1994). As a journalist he worked in Britain, South Africa and Zimbabwe and during this time formed a close relationship with Ian Fleming. After Fleming’s death he was commissioned to write a sequel to one of the James Bond books but it was rejected and is believed lost. Jenkins died in 2001 at the age 81. Of note: A Daystar of Fear (1994)

Dirk JORDAAN With a fellow journalist and writer as his partner, and a household comprising two cats, three dogs, four guitars and two motorcycles, Jordaan, is among the forerunners in the new Afrikaans crime novel. His debut, Die Jakkalssomer, received high accolades in 2007. Novel: Die Jakkalssomer (2007)

Harry KALMER Better known as a dramatist, short story writer, and novelist, Kalmer has also garnered a reputation (often misunderstood according to his fellow authors) as a thriller writer. Novels: X-Ray Visagie en die Vingers van God (1993), Kniediep (1998), which appeared in English as Killing Afrikaners (1998), and En die lekkerste deel van dood wees (2008)

Chris KARSTEN Journalist of long standing, author of many books of South African true crime, and now the first of a trilogy first written in Afrikaans - Abel se ontwaking - which won the ATKV Prose Prize and Prize for a Suspense Novel in 2011. Novel: The Skin Collector (2012); The Skinner’s Revenge (2013), Face-Off (2014)

Tim KEEGAN A Cape Town historian turned novelist, he decided to parody a genre that teeters close to the edge of parody anyhow and whacked in with a romp of larger than life characters. More lunacy is scheduled. Novel:Tromp’s Last Stand (2007)

Rosemund KENDAL A GP in Durban, this is her third novel but her first krimi. Novel: The Murder of Norman Ware (2012)

Margaret von KLEMPERER A Durban journalist and long-time reviewer of crime fiction, she retired recently and immediately sat down to write her first crime novel. Novel: Just a Dead Man (2012)

Isa KONRAD A Namibian-born author who has divided her time between Switzerland and South Africa. She currently lives in Switzerland. Novel: Die Ondenkbare (2010)

Richard KUNZMANN According to the biog notes on his book jackets, Kunzmann has a passion for African myths and mythologies and a degree in criminology. Certainly these obsessions have filtered into his novels with muti killings playing a large part in Blood Harvests. When his first novel was published he was working as a bookseller in London, then moved back to Johannesburg, and is now back in London. Novels: Bloody Harvests (2005), Salamander Cotton (2006), Dead-End Road (2008) 

Greg LAZARUS Lisa Lazarus and Greg Fried formed a wife and husband team to write their debut crime novel When In Broad Daylight I Open My Eyes. They live in Cape Town which is also the setting for their novel. Their psychological thriller takes its themes from their interests in psychology and philosophy. Novel: When In Broad Daylight I Open My Eyes (2012)

Penny LORIMER Penny Lorimer has plenty of writing experience, including a YA crime novel. She lives in Cape Town. Novel: Finders Weepers (2014)

Sarah LOTZ Although her first novel, Pompidou Posse, was not a crime novel, Cape Town resident and television script writer Lotz has shifted to the genre with her second novel, for want of a better description, a legal thriller. Her international thriller,The Three, appeared in 2014. Novel: Exhibit A (2009), Tooth and Nailed (2010)

Joanne MACGREGOR Known for her YA novels, Macgregor has turned her hand to a psychological thriller in the ever expanding range of SA crime novels. She lives in Johannesburg. Novel: Dark Whispers (2014)

Jassy MACKENZIE A contributor to a number of national and international publications on a wide variety of topics, she is a convinced Jozi fan, believing there is no better place for a thriller writer to live. Novel: Random Violence (2008), My Brother’s Keeper (2009), Stolen Lives (2010),Worst Case (2011), Pale Horses (2012)

Arthur MAIMANE A journalist who rose to prominence during the 1950s on Drum magazine, Maimane – writing under the pen name Arthur Mogale – brought a Philip Marlowe-like private investigator (O Chester Morena aka The Chief) on to the local scene. Maimane went into exile in the early 1960s. He lived in London and his career included stints at Reuters, the BBC and ITV. In 1990 he returned to South Africa but eleven years later decided that he was more at home in London. He died there in June 2005. His crime short stories published in episodes in Drum are: Crime for Sale (January, February and March 1953); Hot Diamonds (April, May, June and July 1953); You Can’t Buy Me (August, September, October, November and December 1953). They remain uncollected.

Angela MAKHOLWA A PR consultant with her own agency, Makholwa lives in Johannesburg with her son and a dog called Napoleon. Novel:Red Ink (2007), Black Widows Society (2013)

Chris MARNEWICK A senior advocate in Durban, Marnewick’s first book was part fiction, part fact and, because it didn’t conform to the conventions of crime novels or thrillers wasn’t included in the Who’s Who. His second book fits firmly into the thriller genre. Novels: Shepherds & Butchers (2008), The Soldier Who Said No (2010), A Sailor’s Honour (2011)

Rob MARSH Journalist, broadcaster, author of two true crime books,With Criminal Intent and Famous South African Crimes, Marsh entered the crime fiction scene with a story of murder, robbery and deceit. He lives in Johannesburg. Novels:The Serpent Under (2003), Beasts of Prey (2009)

Meshack MASONDO Unless you are Zulu you’ve probably not heard of Masondo who wrote a slew of crime novels to his name, and was reported to have sold as many as 400000 copies. He was much degreed with an MA dissertation on ‘The detective novel in Zulu: Form and theme in C.T. Msimang’sWalivuma Icala’. He worked as a publishing manager with Macmillan in Johannesburg for many years. A short story, “The Love of Money”, possibly the only work of his published in English, appeared in the crime anthology, Bad Company (2008). Masondo died in Johannesburg in 2013. Novels: Iphisi Nezinyoka (1990), Isigcawu Senkantolo (1990), Ingwe Nengonyama (1994), Ingalo Yomthetho (1994), Kanti Nawe? ( 1995), and Ngaze Ngazenza (1994)

James McCLURE Without doubt the founder of crime fiction in South Africa and its most internationally respected exponent – although Deon Meyer is rapidly ascending these heights – McClure left the country in the mid-1960s to settle in Oxford where he worked as a journalist. His Kramer and Zondi series remain essential reading for anyone interested in local crime fiction. McClure died in August 2006. Novels: The Steam Pig (1971), The Caterpillar Cop (1972), The Gooseberry Fool (1974), Snake (1975), The Sunday Hangman (1977), The Blood of an Englishman (1980), The Artful Egg (1984), The Song Dog (1991)

Paul MENDELSON Started his career writing plays and television scripts, went on to write a series of non-fiction books about poker and bridge, followed by some travel writing. Possibly a Brit by birth he is fascinated by things South African and has set his first crime novel in that capital of crime, Cape Town. Novels:The First Rule of Survival (2014), The Serpentine Road (2015), The History of Blood (2016)

Deon MEYER A motorbike enthusiast with a liking for open Karoo roads, Deon Meyer’s crime fiction has included a chase thriller that featured motorbikes to great effect but he is more likely to delve into a range of criminal activities that extend from rape and serial killings, to prostitution, paedophilia and drugs. His characters are flawed but empathetic cops and the version of his home town, Cape Town, that haunts many of his novels is as alive and often as damaged as his antiheroes. Novels:Dead Before Dying (1999), Dead At Daybreak (2000), Heart of the Hunter (2004), Devil’s Peak (2007), Blood Safari (2008), Thirteen Hours (2010), Trackers (2011), 7 Days (2012), Cobra (2014), Icarus (2015)

Riana MOUTON Heralded as one of the pioneering female crime fiction writers of recent times, Mouton is a fulltime author who recently spent some months in New Zealand researching her next novel. Novel: Reuk van die Dood (2008)

Sifiso MZOBE Born in Umlazi, Durban, Mzobe currently works as a journalist for a community newspaper in that city. Novel: Young Blood (2010)

Mike NICOL A journalist, author of a number of novels and works of non-fiction, he lives down the Cape peninsula in the windy Glencairn Heights.Novels:Out to Score(with Joanne Hichens) (2006), The Revenge Trilogy: Payback (2008), Killer Country (2010), Black Heart (2011), Of Cops & Robbers (2013), Power Play (2015), Agents of the State (2016)

Malla NUNN With a reputation as a director of three short films preceding her, Nunn, now living in Australia hit the international scene with her first crime novel set in 1950s South Africa. She was born in Swaziland. Novels: A Beautiful Place to Die (2009), Let The Dead Lie (2010), Silent Valley (2012)

Margie ORFORD Journalist, sometime filmmaker, editor, writer of children’s fiction and books of non-fiction, Orford brought her journalist and part-time police profiler Clare Hart onto a Cape Town scene stacking up with serial killings. The second book is set largely in Namibia where Orford grew up. She lives in Cape Town’s city bowl. Novels: Like Clockwork (2006), Blood Rose (2007), Daddy’s Girl (2009), Gallows Hill (2011),Water Music (2013)

Charlotte OTTER Charlotte Otter lives in Germany. She is a journalist and works for the German technology company SAP. Novels: Balthasar’s Gift (2014), Karkloof Blue (2016)

A L PATTERSON From Johannesburg, Amanda Patterson, heads up the successful writing school, The Write Company, where she also teaches various courses. Novel: I See the Moon (2003)

Chanette PAUL In her 13-year writing career that has produced 31 books, Chanette Paul has experimented with a number of genres while writing romances to keep the pot boiling. Recently she found her true niche, romantic suspense – albeit a quirky interpretation of the genre. She lives in a cottage on the banks of the Kleine River, Stanford. She is Crime Beat’s Afrikaans editor. Novels: Wip van die droomvanger (1999), Springgety (2007), Fortuin (2008), Boheem (2009), Meetsnoer (2010)

Margaret PENROSE Margaret Penrose (pseudonym for Margaret Errington) made a brief entry into the crime scene through the UK publisher John Long but after two books put away her pen and paper. Her characters are amateur sleuths who get drawn into the fallout from dastardly deeds. She lived in Pinelands for many years and died in 2010. Novels: Death on the File (1961), The Fatal Fifth (1963)

Sue RABIE A senior school librarian at St Charles College, she came to thriller fiction after a publisher told her that there was a market for such books. She lives in Pietermaritzburg. Novel: The Boston Snowplough (2008), Blood at Bay (2010), Fallout (2011)

Consuelo ROLAND A Cape Town author of two novels, the second of which is crime fiction. Novel: Lady Limbo (2013)

Michele ROWE A denizen of Cape Town and a scriptwriter by profession, she won the 2011 CWA Debut Dagger for her novel. Novels: What Hidden Lies (2013), Hour of Darkness (2015)

Alan SCHOLEFIELD One of Queens College’s more illustrious students, Alan Scholefield now lives in England where he started his prolific career as a writer in 1951. He has produced over 30 thrillers, the most famous of which revolve around the activities of the British Metropolitan Police. Dirty Washing was the first in the series of five which feature the tough uncompromising Detective Superintendent Gordon Macrae and his suave, intellectual sidekick Leopold Silver. An earlier thriller,Venom was released as a movie in 1981. Of note: Dirty Washing (1990)

Gillian SLOVO She’s a South African by birth but has lived in the UK since 1964, and has a long list of novels to her credit, only a few of which have South African settings. In 1984 she produced the first of her Kate Baeier series, a London-based PI with Portuguese roots. In the first book,Morbid Symptoms, the political background concerns apartheid’s reach into England. She has also written two SA-based political thrillers, one of which,Red Dust, was made into a movie with the same title. Novels: Morbid Symptons (1984), The Betrayal (1991), Red Dust (2000)

Roger SMITH Johannesburg by birth and now settled in the crime fiction capital, Cape Town, Smith has written, produced and directed film and TV. His credits as a screenwriter are numerous and his work is seen regularly on African television. Novel: Mixed Blood (2009), Wake Up Dead (2010), Dust Devils (2011), Capture (2012), Sacrifices (2015)

Wilbur SMITH Winner of the prestigious British Book Life Achievement Award in 1996, Smith has always drawn on his African roots while establishing himself as a top international best-selling author. He has written over 30 novels, most of which are family sagas spread across Africa from colonial Rhodesia to the dynasties of Egypt. His novels included successful stand-alone thrillers such as Shout at the Devil (1968) and Cry Wolf (1976) which have translated well into block-busters on the big screen. Of note: When the Lion Feeds (1964)

Siegfried STANDER Growing up in a dorp didn’t prevent Stander from writing on a range of subjects, including political thrillers such as Into the Winter and The Fortress, which deal with tensions arising from colonialism. He is also noted for his collaborations with heart surgeon Chris Barnard which include Night Season and The Unwanted. Of note: Flight from the Hunter (1977)

Michael STANLEY Actually the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, two retired academics – Sears a mathematician, Trollip an educational psychologist – with a love of Botswana where their first Inspector Kubu novel is set. Novels: A Carrion Death (2008), A Deadly Trade (2009), Death of the Mantis (2011), Deadly Harvest (2013)

Piet STEYN Among his careers, Steyn lists navigator, miner, mathematics teacher, rugby coach and school principal. When asked how he actually became a writer, he replies: ‘I think it was the times I tried to teach in England that made me think of murder stories.’ Novels: Snoeiskêr (2008), Bottelnek (2009)

Jane TAYLOR An academic and collaborator with William Kentridge and writer of the script for Ubu and the Truth Commission and the libretto for The Confessions of Zeno. She peopled her debut crime plot with academics, chiefs, corrupt businessmen, sangomas, ex-security policemen and car guards. She lives in Murdoch Valley outside Simon’s Town. Novel: Of Wild Dogs (2005)

Diale TLHOLWE After his legal studies were interrupted during the turbulent 1980s, he worked as a clerk in a metal company, then as a teacher, joined the Argus cadet school but later became a client and local government liaison officer for a consultancy company. He lives in Spruitview, Ekurhuleni. Novels: Ancient Rites (2008), Counting the Coffins (2011)

Carel VAN DER MERWE A prize winning novelist with much critical acclaim for his first two novels, Van der Merwe has an MA in Writing from the University of Stellenbosch. He lives and works in the winelands town. Novel: Shadow (2012)

Quintus VAN DER MERWE Once a diplomat in various west African countries, Van der Merwe now works for the Western Cape Provincial government and lives in Cape Town. A newcomer to the thriller scene, currently at work on his second novel. Novel: Die Blou van ons Hemel (2007), In Landsbelang (2010)

Irna VAN ZYL Has been a journalist for thirty years and edited De Kat and Insig magazines. She published a collection of short stories in 1995 and now a crime novel, which has appeared in English and Afrikaans. Novel: Dead in the Water (2016)

MD VILLIERS Born in Johannesburg, now living in London, she was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger awards in 2007. This is her first novel. Novel: City of Blood (2013)


Georgie ALLEN (lawyer) created by Sarah Lotz and appears in Exhibit A and Tooth and Nailed.

Kate BAEIER (private investigator) created by Gillian Slovo appears in Morbid Symptoms.

Derek BRIEL (cop) created by Isa Konrad and appears in Die Ondenkbare.

David ‘Kubu’ BENGU (cop) created by Michael Stanley and features in A Carrion DeathA Deadly Trade and Death of the Mantis.

Mace BISHOP (security operator) created by Mike Nicol and features in PaybackKiller Country and Black Heart.

Lennie BRYANT (potter and amateur sleuth) created by June Drummond and features in Farewell Party.

Abigail BUKULA (lawyer) created by Wessel Ebersohn and features in The October Killings and Those Who Love NightThe Top Prisoner of C-Max.

Pylon BUSO (security operator) created by Mike Nicol and features in Payback, Killer Country and Black Heart.

Emmanuel COOPER (detective sergeant) created by Malla Nunn and appears in A Beautiful Place to Die and Let the Dead Lie.

Jade DE JONG (private investigator) created by Jassy Mackenzie and features in Random Violence, Stolen Lives,Worst Case, Pale Horses.

Pierre DE VILLIERS (cop) created by Chris Marnewick and features in Shepherds & Butchers and The Soldier Who Said No.

EMMIE (a housekeeper and amateur sleuth) created by June Drummond and features in The Black Unicorn.

Maurice FABER (political campaign manager and amateur sleuth) created by June Drummond and features in her political crime thriller, The Patriots.

Riedwaan FAIZAL (cop) created by Margie Orford and features in her four novels.

Eberard FEBRUARIE (cop) created by Andrew Brown and features in Coldsleep LullabyRefuse and Solace. Also makes a guest appearance in Margie Orford’s Blood Rose.

Yudel GORDON (a prison psychologist and co-opted investigator) created by Wessel Ebersohn and features in A Lonely Place to Die, Divide the Night, Closed Circle,The October Killings,The Top Prisoner of C-Max.

Benny GRIESSEL (cop) created by Deon Meyer and features in Dead at DaybreakDevil’s Peak, and Thirteen Hours. He also features in Solace by Andrew Brown.

Clare HART (journalist and part-time police profiler) created by Margie Orford and features in her four novels.

Sam HART (police inspector) created by Brandon Carstens and features in his graphic novel, Project H.

Vee JOHNSON (investigative journalist) created by H J Golakai and features in The Lazarus Effect.

Mat JOUBERT (cop) created by Deon Meyer features in Dead Before Dying, with walk-on parts in other Meyer novels.

Nick KENYON (paramedic) created by Jassy Mackenzie and features in My Brother’s Keeper.

Lucy KHAMBULE (journalist cum PR consultant) created by Angela Makholwa and features in Red Ink.

Jan KLEIN (lawyer and legal advisor to government) created by Andrew Gray and features in The Fence.

Tromp KRAMER (cop) created by James McClure and features in the listed novels.

LEMMER (body guard) created by Deon Meyer and features in Blood Safari and Trackers.

MK MAKATINI (cop) created by Muff Andersson and together with former super spy Philemon Skosana and amateur sleuth Abby Moeketsi appears in Bite of the Banshee.

Thabang MAJE (private investigator) also known as Tichere. Created by Diale Tlholwe and features in Ancient Rites and Counting the Coffins.

Justice MARAPEDI (cop) created by Angela Makholwa and featured in Red Ink.

Harry MASON (cop) created by Richard Kunzmann and features in his two novels, Bloody Harvests and Dead-End Road as a cop and as a PI in Salamander Cotton.

Cicero MATYOBENI (cop) along with Ewan Christopher (journalist) and Helena de Villiers (pathologist) created by Jane Taylor and feature in Of Wild Dogs.

Craig McCLOUD (detective) created by A L Patterson and featured in I See the Moon.

Ross McCRAE (computernik) created by June Drummond and features in her political thriller, Junta.

Mullet MENDES (ex-cop turned private investigator) created by Mike Nicol and features in Out to Score. Mullet also makes a considerable appearance in Joanne Hichens’s Divine Justice.

Fred MESSINA (insurance investigator) created by June Drummond and features in I Saw Him Die.

O Chester MORENA aka the Chief (private detective) created by Arthur Maimane and features in a number of serialised stories in Drum magazine during the 1950s.

Thobela MPAYIPHELI (former MK guerrilla forced into vigilantism) created by Deon Meyer features in Heart of the Hunter and Devil’s Peak.

Lamla NGWEMA (cop) created by François Bloemhof features in Rooi Luiperd.

Gys NIEMAND (detective) and his youthful sidekick, Faantjie Fortuin, created by Chanette Paul feature in her novels SpringgetyFortuin and Boheem.

Jerome Michael NOSSEL (lawyer) created by David Dison and features in Death in the New Republic.

David PATEL (a cop) created by Jassy Mackenzie and features in her Jade de Jong series.

James PORBEAGLE (a university lecturer turned sleuth) created by June Drummond and features in Welcome, Proud Lady.

Philip RENNIE (accountant and amateur sleuth) created by June Drummond and features in Slowly The Poison.

Vincent SALDANA (ex-cop turned private investigator) created by Joanne Hichens and features in Out to Score and in her novel Divine Justice.

Neil SCALLAN (amateur sleuth) created by June Drummond and features in Hidden Agenda.

Junior SCHEEPERS (cop) created by Riana Mouton and features in Reuk van die Dood.

Mark STEYN (cop) created by François Bloemhof features in Rooi Luiperd.

John THORNEYCROFT (cop) created by June Drummond and features in Loose Cannon (a 2003 novel set in the UK) and Old Bones Buried Under.

Jake TROMP (cop) created by Tim Keegan and features in Tromp’s Last Stand.

Jacob TSHABALALA (cop) created by Richard Kunzmann and features in his three novels.

Alma VAN DER POOL (cop) the first female detective in Afrikaans, created by François Bloemhof features in Spinnerak and Jagseisoen.

Rae VALENTINE (private investigator) created by Joanne Hichens featured as Rae-Anne in Out to Score (written with Mike Nicol) but became a PI in her own right in Hichens’s Divine Justice.

Zatopek VAN HEERDEN (cop) created by Deon Meyer and features in Dead at Daybreak.

Mickey ZONDI (cop) created by James McClure and features in the listed novels.


Sepedi crime fiction as detailed by Professor M J Mojalefa. For his paper click here.

By 1998, only twenty-two detective stories had been published in Sepedi, twelve of which are short stories.

These are Tšhipu e rile ke lebelo (Moloto, 1962), Lenong la Gauta (Bopape, 1982), Leabela le a fetiša (Maphoto, 1983), Letlapa la Bophelo (Moloto, 1983), Nonyana ya Tokologo (Kekana, 1984), Etshwang Mare (Mothapo, 1986), Nnete Fela (Kekana, 1989), Sesasedi sa katlego (Kekana, 1990), Ga se nna mmolai (Maputla, 1991), and Kepisi ya lephodisa (Mojalefa, 1998).

The following are examples of detective short stories in Sepedi: “Tšhelete ya sepoko” and “Moloi ga a na mmala” from the collection Molomatsebe (Ramaila, 1951), “Serapeng sa Badimo” from the collection Hlokwa-la-tsela (Matlala, 1969), “Ralato 1-5” from the collection Nka se lebale (Motuku & Ramokgopa, 1972), “Tšhipu e rile ke lebelo” from the collection Seswai sa dita- Literator 28(1) April 2007Mystery in Sepedi detective stories Banatodi (Ngoepe, 1980), “Moloko ga o fahlwe ka moka” from the collection Lerole la Bjaša (Tlooke, 1987) and “Bomahlwabadibona” and “Ntlo ya monna yo mongwe” by P.M. Lebopa from the collectionMakhura’ lefehlo (Mampuru, 1991).

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