Beneath the Marula tree
Beneath the Marula tree is an African murder mystery novel by Ravayi Marindo. The novel is a sequel to Frangipani in the mist.
Following the events of the Mamvura Murders (from the first book), Michael Mafuri resumes his duties at Mamvura and this time to head the rural division of a Violent Crimes Unit. When suspicious suicide cases of seemingly happy women start piling up Michael Mafuri and his team once again finds themselves at the center of the storm…
The story flows smoothly from the previous book so that it feels like you are just resuming from a previous chapter. While you won’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this one, it certainly helps the character story arc to know the backstory from the book before.
The book has some very strong feminism themes, there’s even a subplot involving a group of feminists and the are issues which come out as the investigations into the suicides progress to qualify or justify why one would have a reason to commit suicide…
While it’s still a murder mystery, again it has elements of fantasy and romance as Michael tries to find how to make the perfect marriage proposal to one from a matrilineal tribe.
The book is not as thrilling as the first and a significant part of the plot seems to be on the bias which makes characters make emotive assumptions based on gender and race. Even the level-headed characters at times made illogical deductions, but again in the fictional world as in the real world that’s probably how we behave with emotion clouding judgement
The bags you will have under your eyes if you wade into this read immediately after finishing Frangipani in the mist as you wont be able to put this book down till you get to the bottom of things.
As a reflection of society, it really paints the police in an unforgiving light.. also suicide trigger warning.
The African murder mystery genre is not a common one, so this book is a breath of fresh air, which still manages touch on important themes yet still be a thrilling read with a hint of a ghost story…..