Malla Nunn’s Silent Valley (published in 2014 by Macmillan) is a book about the murder of a beautiful nubile young thing called Amahle, the daughter of a local chief. She was about to be married off when she was found killed and her father grieves, not so much for the dead girl but the loss of the herd of cattle she was going to fetch in dowry. Amahle’s death means the chief can no longer take another wife, his sixth.
The second murder adds to the suspense and helps the plot. The twist and turns that lead to the identity of the killer – and the reasons for the dastardly act – compensate for the barrenness of Nunn’s research.