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Malla Nunn Books In Order

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Publication Order of Detective Emmanuel Cooper Books

A Beautiful Place to Die (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Let The Dead Lie (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blessed Are the Dead / Silent Valley (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Present Darkness (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

When the Ground Is Hard (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sugar Town Queens (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Malla Nunn is a former screenwriter and author of bestselling crime novels the “Detective Emmanuel Cooper” series of novels. She has been a nominee of the Edgar and Ned Kelly awards several times and has won the Best Novel at the Davitt Awards. Her films have also done very well and won numerous awards over the years.
The author was born in Swaziland and her family moved to Australia when she was eleven years old. Her parents had told the kids that they were moving to Australia since they had found better paying jobs but nothing could have been further from the truth.
As they grew older, they understood that they had to leave Swaziland because of the poverty. Given how poor the country was, almost every household had to depend on jobs in South Africa to survive. Moreover South Africa was at the time very racist because of Apartheid, and the better option was to move to Australia.
As mixed race people in a racist country, they were right in no man’s land between black and white and this severely limited possibilities for development. Since her father did not want that for his children he put them all on a boat and headed to Perth where he had been offered a job by a Baptist school.

Nunn would go to high school in Australia and then graduate with an English and history bachelors from the University of Western Australia. She would then move to the US and lived with her aunt while she studied theater before moving again to Philadelphia.
The author went to Villanova University from where she got a masters degree in Theater Studies. Since she could not find a job that matched her qualifications, she dabbled in screenwriting and acting. She directed and wrote three award winning films during this time.
Some of these included the film “Servant of the Ancestors” that would go on to win several awards in Zanzibar, Los Angeles and Chicago. It would also be broadcast on Australian national television.
It was during this time that she met her husband while she was in the United States. The man is a Hungarian-American Jew which meant that she got to mix up her bloodline even more. They currently make their home in the town of Bexley and are a core part of the liberal Jewish community there.

Malla Nunn’s debut novel was the 2009 published “A Beautiful Place to Die” that was the winner of the Davitt Sisters in Crime Award when it was published internationally. It scooped the Best Adult Crime novel and also made the shortlist for the Best Novel at the American Edgar Awards. At the Ellis Peters Awards her novel “Let the Dead Lie” was also highly commended.

“A Beautiful Place to Die” by Malla Nunn is set in the small town of Jacobs’s Rest, between Mozambique and South Africa. The year is 1952 and new Apartheid laws have been coming into effect dividing the nation into white and black.
For the enacters of the law, this is supposed to heal the rift between the English and Afrikaners. But there are still tensions between the oppressors and the oppressed. Things come to a head when an Afrikaner police officer is killed and tensions that had been simmering now boil to the surface.
When Emmanuel Cooper, an English detective starts working on the case, his work is preempted by the Security Branch, one of the most powerful departments in the police whose work is to find black communist radicals. But the detective is not interested in political expediency or making friends.
He is a modest chap but he is very intelligent and will definitely not be kowtowing to those in power. He prefers to strike out on his own and soon after uncovers the imperfect life of Captain Pretorius and a shocking forbidden love. The man’s relationships with the coloured and black residents of the small town were more human and complicated than anyone would have ever thought.

Malla Nunn’s “Let the Dead Lie” is set in Durban where detective Emmanuel Cooper is hiding between two box cars. From where he is, he can spy out a cruise ship docked out across the water. He is working on surveillance for Major van Niekerk, his old boss.
He still works for the man despite the fact that he was forced to resign after one of his old cases went very wrong. It had made him realize how low his life had gone and while his boss had warned him to keep himself in the shadows at all times he could not help himself.
When he heard the distress call, he immediately dashed out and moved towards it. What he met resulted in his life spiralling dangerously out of control. In no time at all he finds himself caught up in three murders with all the evidence showing that only he could be the killer.
The hangman’s noose is looming while he is trapped in the cells and he is having grim thoughts. But then for some reason he had been handed over to Niekerk and the police were in a rage. They could not do anything about it though until much later.
Cooper finds himself in a race to save his life and find the real killer. He has no one he can turn to for help and he needs to navigate the dark underworld of violence, prostitution, and drugs all alone.

In “Blessed Are the Dead” by Malla Nunn, Amahle, a beautiful seventeen year old girl, is found killed just outside the city. The body was found dumped on a hillside and covered with wildflowers near the Drakensberg Mountains. She had been left just between the white owned farm where she earned her living and her father’s home.
Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala and Detective Sergeant Cooper are the lead investigators in the homicide. It is not long before they realize that Amahle had been involved in bioht white and black communities in ways nobody could have ever imagined.
Shabalala and Cooper now need to enter the heavily fortified world of a divided white farming community and that of an ancient Zulu clan to find any information Amahle had left behind that could help their quest for justice.
They soon realize that living in a country deeply scarred by Apartheid, the law is usually jkust as broken as it is bent means Cooper had his work cut out bringing these two irreconcilibale and disparate worlds together.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Malla Nunn

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