Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4) by Malla Nunn

Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)

Set in the corrupt, unforgiving world of apartheid South Africa, this novel in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series follows Cooper as he faces a test of loyalty and friendship.Five days before Christmas, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper sits at his desk at the Johannesburg major crimes squad, ready for his holiday in Mozambique. A call comes in: a respectable, white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their bedroom. The couple’s te...

Details Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)

TitlePresent Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)
Release DateJun 3rd, 2014
PublisherAtria/Emily Bestler Books
GenreMystery, Cultural, Africa, Fiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Crime, Southern Africa, South Africa

Reviews Present Darkness (Detective Emmanuel Cooper, #4)

  • Cathrine ☯️
    3.75★Went into this one blind for a group reading challenge with no prior knowledge of the author or the series and ended up enjoying this mystery-crime novel set in 1953 Johannesburg in the heartless and unforgiving times of South Africa’s apartheid. Amidst police corruption a couple have been beaten and left for dead and the culprit identified—an open and shut case? Sargent Emmanuel Cooper thinks not. I liked the interaction of friendship...
  • Carolyn
    Apartheid in 1950s Johannesburg and corruption and violence are a way of life for those who are not white and must survive in a difficult world. But also for the police who have the power to cover up what they want. Emmanuel Cooper's new boss, born-again righteous Lieutenant Mason is one such policeman. When a respectable white couple are viciously attacked in their home just before Christmas, and a teenage Zulu schoolboy is identified by the cou...
  • Brenda
    Johannesburg in 1953 was full of corruption on all levels – the division between the whites and non-whites was as wide as it had ever been. Apartheid in South Africa was in full swing and Detective Emmanuel Cooper was in the thick of it. When the call came through about a white couple having been assaulted in the most violent of manners it was only five days until Christmas; five days until the majority of the Detective Branch police were on le...
  • Phrynne
    This author can certainly write and so far I have loved all of her books. I have lived in South Africa and know the Johannesburg area well and be assured that her descriptions of the scenery and the atmosphere are spot on. I can breathe in and almost smell the countryside as I read her words. Of course as a fan of mysteries and of police novels this series pulls me in anyway. I read this book in one sitting. It was excellent.
  • Skip
    A prostitute is kidnapped. A white couple is critically beaten, and their daughter names two black students as the attackers, one of whom is the son of Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper's good friend Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala. Cooper quickly realizes that the crime is simply too neat and decides to disobey his police boss by investigating on his own, especially since he owes Shabalala his life. His investigation takes him back into th...
  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    Present Darkness is the fourth superb instalment in Malla Nunn's Detective Emmanuel Cooper series. This unique crime series, set during the 1950's in apartheid ruled South Africa, has become one of my favourites, and Present Darkness is Nunn's best yet.It is a few days before Christmas, 1953 and Cooper is fast losing patience with his colleagues in the Johannesburg major crimes squad. While the temporary transfer from Durban allows him to see Dav...
  • Karen
    There has always been a strong instructive element in the Emmanuel Cooper series. Apartheid South Africa is a world that we know existed, even know some details about, but what it was like actually living in that regime, particularly when you're not definitely part of the elite? Well that's where this series comes in.One of the great strengths of the books is the way that the world that Cooper and his compatriots occupy has been expanding. This i...
  • David
    Present Darkness is Malla Nunn’s fourth entry in the Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper series and is an excellent continuation of the series.It’s the 1950’s in South Africa and Apartheid has taken its vicious hold. Detective Sergeant Cooper has managed a temporary transfer from Durban to Johannesburg for personal reasons. The price he must pay is reporting to the angry, religiously fanatic Lieutenant Mason who applies the Apartheid rules w...
  • Gloria Feit
    The fourth entry in the series featuring South African detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper brings vividly to life the rigid apartheid system in the country in 1953. Although those laws were abolished over twenty years ago, the author places the reader squarely into that reality, the dichotomy made very clear.Emmanuel has obtained a short-term transfer from the coastal city of Durban to Jo’burg. His first assignment has him paired with Lieutenant...
  • Megan
    While the dialogue and description were (in my view) a bit melodramatic and clunky, this was a really interesting, and disturbing, novel set in the early years of South African apartheid. The story dramatizes the deep racial divisions and legal separation of the races in a way that textbooks can't - it made me want to rewatch District 9.
  • Liviania
    The Emmanuel Cooper books just might be my favorite ongoing mystery series. The series started in 2009 with A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE, set in 1952 South Africa. Although PRESENT DARKNESS comes three books later, it is only one year later in story time.The setting is incredibly important to these novels. Apartheid legislation started in 1948. It segregated people - white, black, mixed race, Indian - as well as services. It also made sexual relation...
  • Pat
    Emmanuel Cooper lives on the razor’s edge. As a man of mixed race and humane principles, this ex-soldier turned police detective turned undercover agent in 1950's South Africa is forever at risk of being found out. The vicious apartheid regime would swat him like a fly. It is only by virtue of having a close circle of true and talented friends that he is able to maintain his cover and keep his loved ones safe. In this fourth spine-tingling epis...
  • Viccy
    Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is waiting to take his Christmas holiday to Mozambique when he catches a home invasion in a white enclave of Johannesburg. When the daughter of the house identifies the son of Cooper's best friend, Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shambalala as one of the attackers, Cooper knows she is lying. But the case is taken over by a policeman who is intent on railroading Shambalala and Cooper knows he has to intervene, ev...
  • Ronnie Justice
    The fourth in the series, Malla Nunn continues to highlight the racial tensions of apartheid, letting private middle grounds and struggles provide the backdrop to mystery and adventure. The biggest negative is that the Scotch sergeant-major isn't really explained in more than a cursory way. A reader new to the series may have a little curiosity as to why the voice of a Scotsman is constantly advising a South African police detective.But it's a go...
  • Beverly
    Another wonderful detective Cooper story, this one set in Johannesburg. Here the beauty of South Africa is more subtle, but still there in indelible flashes. Elements are added to Cooper's physical and psychological portrait in this story of gang violence and police corruption starting with the brutal beating of a school principal and his wife. This leads to the imprisonment of Samuel Shabalala's son, accused of the crime, and to the underworld o...
  • Vicki
    A young native boy is accused of the brutal murder of a white schoolteacher but won't defend himself against the charges. And while there is something off about the witness statement implicating the boy, Detective Emmanuel Cooper is discouraged by his boss from investigating further. This mystery series set in South Africa in the 1950s, explores the dangerous moral and ethical dilemmas faced by Cooper as he relentlessly pursues the truth in this ...
  • Nikki
    Emmanuel Cooper is one of me favorite literary characters. He's a complex figure struggling with issues of race and love in apartheid South Africa. He is fiercely loyal to friends, dedicated to doing what's right rather than what's easy, and always reliable in a fight. Interesting story built around strong characters. Great addition to the series.
  • Wilhelmina Jenkins
    This is the 4th in what my currently be my favorite mystery series. This series is set in South Africa in the early days of the development of the apartheid system. I enjoyed this book a bit less that some of the others in the series, but it was still a fascinating book. I hope that this series continues for a long time.
  • Stephanie
    A wonderfully written mystery series set in 1950s South Africa, just after apartheid laws began to take effect, featuring an excellent cast of characters and a unique blend of mystery and social commentary.
  • Michael
    This review will be in English and German. English:For several years now, thanks to Malla Nunn, I’m able to follow Detective Sergant Emmanuel Cooper in South Africa in the 1950’s. So I’m gaining insight into the apartheid-driven country. Once again Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala “investigates” with Cooper. But also there is the Jewish doctor Dr. Zweigman.As a starting point for this investigation and the description of the Aparthe...
  • Rob Kitchin
    Present Darkness is the fourth book in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series set in South Africa in the 1950s. In this outing, Cooper has returned to Johannesburg, the city in which he was raised, and is living in secret with Davina, his coloured partner, and their child. The plot concerns the assault and murder of a white couple and the framing of a teenage black boy for the crime. The sting in the tail is the boy is the son of Cooper’s friend,...
  • Russell Atkinson
    Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is from the wrong side of the tracks - the South African tracks, that is. He is a white man living with a colored woman in the apartheid era. A white married couple is murdered and their daughter identifies two black students as the murderers. Cooper realizes quickly that the girl is lying but doesn't know why. The white police lieutenant seizes on the identification as a quick solve of a heinous crime. It is up...
  • Jennifer
    Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is called to the scene of an assault of a respectable white couple in Johannesburg. Their teenage daughter identifies the attacker as a black boy from a local school--the son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala. The men are good friends and Cooper owes his life. It is almost Christmas and Cooper's boss wants to close the case so everyone can go on holiday. He cares less about justice than getting the ea...
  • Carl
    I liked this book a lot. I grew up in the segregationist south, where there were drinking fountains for "coloreds". If I hadn't been there, I wouldn't believe that such a thing could have been allowed. But until you read some authentic descriptions of the way things were in the 1950's South Africa, you will have no idea of how ridiculously convoluted society can become as a result of prejudice and ignorance. This book is a murder mystery and is t...
  • John Benson
    This is the 4th book in the Emmanuel Cooper series set in 1950s South Africa. Emmanuel Cooper is white but sees himself as a "white kaffir" as he crosses the color line often in these times where apartheid is a major part of the South African landscape. I have read the previous three books in this series and liked how they bring out the history of that time so well while he tries to solve crimes, often with his Zulu partner and friend, Samuel Sha...
  • LVLMLeah
    I loved this book. Det Emmanuel is a very interesting character. Works for the police, yet he is illegally married to a black woman and has a child with her in 50's apartheid South Africa. He walks that fine line of trying to keep them a secret, safe, but also wanting to do what's right by putting horrible people behind bars, while having to deal with inquiring co-worker/ boss minds into his personal life.The setting felt very realistic. It's a f...
  • Lars
    Great fourth part of the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series. Skillfull writing, interesting characters, a lot of suspense, some hardboiled crime and a vivid description of South Africa in the Fifties made this a very fast read for me. I liked especially that this time both city life (Johannesburg) and the situation in the Veld are depicted. A minor flaw is that especially in the end the plot is a little coincidental, but overall I really liked the ...
  • Joan
    It's a different world in South Africa. The color of your skin makes you in or out of having an acceptable life. Mixed marriages and associating with people of color is a no no. Sargeant Emmanual Cooper works in Johannesburg. Murder has been committed. Sargeant Cooper and good friend Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala race to solve this case since it hits close to home and touches their loved ones' lives in a dangerous way. Lots of underwo...
  • Julie Cohen
    A good follow up/conclusion(?) to this really interesting crime series set in 1950s South Africa. I really appreciate the way Malla Nunn has set her stories against this backdrop; there are scenes and language that are so shocking in our post-apartheid world, and I have to remind myself that it is not ancient history. The central mysteries in this one were pretty interesting, and while their interconnectedness was a little contrived, it was a sat...
  • Kathy
    I keep marking Malla Nunn's "Emmanuel Cooper" series as "thought-provoking" as the undercurrent in these books is apartheid in South Africa. I found this book to be more fast-paced than some of the previous books in the series, and more satisfying because we get to see the human side of both Cooper and Shabalala.