Sunday, February 24, 2013

Murder of Norman Ware by Rosamund Kendal

Advocate Norman Ware has been murdered in the men's room by the pool in the exclusive San Le Mer eco-estate near Durban, South Africa. The '...murder was the culmination of a series of seemingly unrelated, purely random events.'

Rosamund Kendal builds her story on the lives and actions of 20 people who contributed to Norman Ware's murder—21, if you include Norman himself since he played a part in his own demise. 21 character studies! How can the author pull that off without the story bogging down? In Kendal's case, very well, indeed. The stories-within-a-story are sometimes humorous, poignant in one case, and deliciously cynical when examining politicians, corrupt businessmen, and wealthy suburban dwellers. You'll find some anthropology, sociology, politics, and history worked in. Since at the heart this is a murder, you also get some police procedural and decidedly non-CSI forensic science.

As a reader, I couldn't wait to find out how each person's story fit into the overall scheme. I wasn't disappointed by any piece to the puzzle which is no mean feat when you are juggling this many mini-narratives. After I finished the book and found out how Norman Ware came to be dead, I went back and mapped out the connections between the characters and the murder and marveled at how well the author pulled everything together. I wish I could give some examples but there is no way to do so without spoiling part of the story.

I don't think I've ever read a crime story structured like this one and found it an irresistible, fun read. I think non-South African lovers of a good mystery (such as myself) will enjoy it as well and perhaps learn a bit.

I learned about this book from a brief blurb on Books Live announcing the launch party and found it available for download from It was a happy whim on my part that I gave into impulse and purchased it. How much do I like this book? When it became available on Kindle I purchased a second copy so I would show up as a an Amazon Verified Purchase when I posted my review.

The Murder of Norman Ware is available for the Kindle and in print at Amazon and Adobe DRM epub and print from Kalahari.


  1. Mack - Thanks for the fine review. That really is an interesting approach to telling a story. As you say, it's really not easy to pull off that many character studies but I'm glad it worked as well as it did for you. You've definitely got me intrigued.

    1. Hi Margo, thanks for commenting. I think it could have been risky having that many character studies but Rosamund pulled it off.

  2. Wow, thanks for such a positive and comprehensive review. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book and so appreciate the effort you took to review it. If you do enjoy South African novels, you might also enjoy my previous books 'The Angina Monologues' and 'The Karma Suture'. They are not crime genre novels but rather in the medical drama genre (warning: they are a bit gory) and make for an interesting and informative read.

  3. Hi Rosamund,
    Thank you for commenting. You really did a wonderful job capturing the lives of the characters. I already have your other two books in the queue to be read. A little gore isn't going to scare me off, consider the name of this blog. :)

  4. Hello!

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    I love MDH because Dr. Rubinstein is a forensic psychiatrist with over 40 years experience. He is an expert on psychological thrillers, the criminal mind and knows how to share the story!

    Dr. Rubinstein is intrigued by your blog and asked me to see if you were interested in doing a review? We would love to send you free Kindles or paperbacks for reviews, giveaways, etc. Whatever would be the most FUN and informative for you! Please let me know any ideas you have. Your imagination is the limit!

    Talk to you soon :)
    Nathan Donahoe
    Author Coordinator, Mark Rubinstein