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 kalahari.com. 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.