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Primary Texts A-L


Author Details


Detective & Paratext


Abrahams, Peter. A Night of Their Own. New York: Knopf, 1965.

Protest writer

Mystery / literary fiction

Set in SA during apartheid. Published by Faber in the UK, Knopf in USA.


Ackermann, Lourens.  Mandla Maseko, PI: The Gun Smugglers. Johannesburg: Sached Books, 1996.

Illustrations by Guy Feyen

Writing for new literates


Airth, Rennie. River of Darkness. London: Pan, 2000.
-------. The Blood-Dimmed Tide. London: Macmillan, 2004.
-------. The Dead of Winter. London: Macmillan, 2009.
-------. The Reckoning. [London]: Mantle, 2014.

SA born former journalist


Allen, Grant [and Arthur Conan Doyle]. Hilda Wade: A Woman with Tenacity of Purpose. Fairfield, Ind.: 1st World Library Literary Society, 2004.

Final chapter written with Doyle as Allen was dying.


Takes place partly in SA. First published in serial form in 1900.


Andersson, Muff: Bite of the Banshee. Johannesburg: STE, 2002.

Part-time academic & journalist



Andrew, Sally. Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2015.



Tannie Maria, amateur detective


Anonymous. One Man. Cape Town: Kwela, 2014.




Badal, Sean. Dead Sanctities. Bombay: Citron Press, 1999.
-------. Seeds of Disorder. Hertford: Authors Online, 2002.
-------. The Fall of the Black-Eyed Night. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2008.
-------. The Ice on Mars. Cape Town: Wigan Pier, 2010.

Former journalist, now writer


Corporate, biotech themes


Bernstein, Hilda. Death is Part of the Process. London: Sinclair Browne, 1983.

British-born activist & non-fiction author


Set in 1960s. Won the Sinclair Prize. Banned for being political, depicting revolution & armed struggle.


Beukes, Lauren . The Shining Girls. Cape Town: Random House Struik, 2012.

Award-winning author. Other works not crime.

Mystery / literary fiction


Blackburn, Douglas. Kruger’s Secret Service. London: John Macqueen, 1900.

SA journalist. Aka One Who Was In It.


Available online


Blumenthal, Ryan. The Rain Beetle. Hextable, Kent: G2 Rights, 2012.


Bolaji, Omoseye. Tebogo and the Bacchae. Bloemfontein: Eselby Jnr, 2012.
-------. Tebogo and the Epithalamion. Bloemfontein: Eselby Jnr, 2009.
-------. Tebogo and the Haka. Bloemfontein: Eselby Jnr, 2008
-------. Tebogo and the Pantophagist. Bloemfontein: Eselby Jnr, 2010.
Et al.


Bosman, Herman Charles. Willemsdorp. Johannesburg: APB, 1977.

Famous SA writer

Murder mystery / literary fiction

Written before his death in 1951; censored in 1977 due to portrayal of police. APB now Human & Rousseau; re-ed 1998.


Brechin, David. Nic Barber IDB. Cape Town: Nasionale Boekhandel, 1963.
-------. Rock Shock: Clifton Beach, Diamonds and Murder. N. p.: Self-pub, 1982.
-------. Uncut Diamond. Cape Town: Nasionale Boekhandel, 1969.

Scottish-born journalist; edited Kimberly newspaper. Translated from Afrikaans.


Nic Barber private mine detective


Brierley, David. Death & Co. London: Little, Brown, 1999.


Bright, Cayleigh. Close to Home. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2014.

Editor & journalist



Brink, Andre. An Act of Terror. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.
-------. Imaginings of Sands. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996.

Protest writer

Literary fiction

Crime / terrorism elements


Brown, Andrew. Coldsleep Lullaby. Cape Town: Zebra, 2005.
-------. Devil’s Harvest. Cape Town: Zebra, 2014.
-------. Refuge. Cape Town: Zebra, 2010.
-------. Solace. Cape Town: Zebra, 2012.

Also non-fiction author


Detective Eberard Februarie. 2006 Sunday Times Literary Award.


Brynard, Karin. Weeping Waters. Johannesburg: Penguin, 2014.

Journalist. Translated from Afrikaans


Bulbring, Edyth. The Club. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2009.



Set in JHB school, corruption.


Burmeister, Jon. A Hot and Copper Sky. London: Michael Joseph, 1969.
-------. Running Scared. London: Michael Joseph, 1972.
-------. Someone Else’s War. London: Michael Joseph, 1973.
-------. The Darkling Plain. London: Michael Joseph, 1970.
-------. The Edge of the Coast. London: Severn House, 1968.
-------. The Glory Hunters. London: Michael Joseph, 1979.
-------. The Protector Conclusion. London: Michael Joseph, 1977.
-------. The Unloved Ones. London: Michael Joseph, 1972.
-------. The Weatherman Guy. London: Michael Joseph, 1975.
 + More titles up to 1989

SA author (1933–2001)

Thriller / adventure / suspense

Few titles set in SA. Also published by Sphere. Running Scared filmed as Tigers Don’t Cry, as Target of an Assassination, & as Fatal Assassin.


Butler, K. R. A Desert of Salt. London: John Long, 1964.
-------. A Fall of Rock. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1967.

UK journalist working in SA (Katharine Rosemary)



Byron, Ronald. Hamilton Avenue. New York: Macmillan, 1958.

Pseudonym of Montague Goldberg



Campbell, Alexander. Fell Purpose. Cape Town: Howard Timmins, 1945.
-------. The Strawmen Murders: A South African Detective Story. Johannesburg: APB, 1946.


Detective fiction

Colonel Jurie Malan, “the Cape Sherlock”. Fell Purpose also published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton.


Carstens, Brandon. Project H. Cape Town: Wonjoolaai Studios,  2009.


Graphic novel

Investigator Sam Hart. Self-pub.


Caulfield, John. A Season of Glass. N. p.: Solstice Publishing, 2014.
-------. In All My Sad Dreaming. London: Better Karma Publishing, 2010.
-------. The Atom Heart Murders. London: Grosvenor House Publishing, 2007.

Author & lawyer, moved to UK.

Psych thriller

Superintendent John Murdoch; Capt James Black, police. The Atom Heart Murders also published by Karabeth.


Church, Peter. Bitter Pill. Cape Town: Burnet Media, 2011.
-------. Dark Video. Cape Town: Two Dogs, 2008.

Works in IT


Amateur sleuth. Dark Video also published by Random House, Umuzi, and Mercury.


Clarke, Anna. The Darkened Room. London: Chatto & Windus, 1968.
Et al.

SA-born author, later moved to UK (1919–2004)

Mystery / cosy

Very popular cosy murder mysteries, still in print. Some feature Professors Paula Glenning & James Goff.


Clarke, P. H. C. Adventures at Dabanga School. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1954.

Author. (Philip sometimes listed as Pauline)


Two stories with a South African setting: “The Detectives” and “The Smugglers” (82 pp). Reissued 1990.


Cleeve, Brian Talbot. Portrait of My City. London: Jarrolds, 1952.

English author, lived in SA during early years of NP rule and was expelled due to opposition to apartheid.


Coetzer, Owen. The Secret of St Augustines. Johannesburg: Covos, 2001.




Coetzee, Amanda. Bad Blood. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2011.
-------. Flaming June. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2013.
-------. One Shot. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2014.
-------. Redemption Song. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2012.

Deputy headmistress


Harry O’Connor / Badger (Major Crimes detective). Set in London.


Corbett, Trevor R. Allegiance. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2012.
-------. An Ordinary Day. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2010.

Counter-intelligence strategist

Spy / political thriller

NIA Agent Kevin Durant


Cowell, Alan S. Permanent Removal. Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2016

Britishjournalist, assigned to JHB in mid-1980s and ordered to leave by government.

Political thriller


Cramer, Laurence. How to Look After Burt Reynolds. Cape Town: Penguin, 2014.

Author, died in 2013.



Crocker, Gareth. Never Let Go. Cape Town: Penguin, 2013.

Other works not crime.



Cronjé, Jan F. The Hunter. Cape Town: Contentlot.com, 2002.


Croudace, Glynn. Blackadder. London:  Macmillan, 1969.
-------. Motives for Murder. Johannesburg: Dassie Books, 1957.
-------. The Scarlet Bikini. London: Macmillan, 1969.
-------. The Secret of the Rock. Cape Town: Maskew Miller Longman, 1988.
-------. The Silver Grass. London: Robert Hale, 1968.
-------. Transvaal Jade & Other Stories. Johannesburg: Dassie Books , 1956.

British-born journalist & author. Other works not crime.

Thriller / adventure

1956 short stories originally published in The Outspan and The Cape Argus. Amateur detectives; otherwise thrillers. Dassie Books also CNA (Central News Agency)


De Beer, Louise. Beyond the Darkness. Johannesburg: Cobble Crab, 2010.




De Waal, Johann. Machado. Johannesburg: Penguin, 1990.

English lecturer


Published simultaneously in Afrikaans by HAUM. Small-town detective Inspector Du Toit.


Dison, David. Death in the New Republic. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2007.

Former lawyer & author


Lawyer Jerome Nossel


D’lovu, Nandi. Angel of Death. London: Macmillan Pacesetters, 1982.
-------. Murder by Magic. Durban: Knox, 1990.
-------. Race Against Rats. London: Macmillan Pacesetters, 1983.

Pseudonym of Mary Phillips; wrote under own name post-1994. First name sometimes listed as Annoi.


Detective Jon Zulu. Also published by Heinemann.


Dreyer, Peter. A Beast in View. London: Andre Deutsch, 1969.

Anti-apartheid activist. Other works not crime.

Political thriller

Banned; Futuristic political thriller, set in SA.


Drin, Michael. Signpost to Fear. Cape Town: Simondium, 1964.

Pseudonym; Canadian-born radio personality, lived in SA.



Driscoll, Peter. Spearhead. London: Bantam , 1988.
-------. The Wilby Conspiracy. New York: Lippincott, 1972.
-------. The Barboza Credentials. New York: Lippincott, 1976.
+ Other works set elsewhere

UK writer educated, lived in SA.


Wilby set in SA, film version 1975; banned. 1988 Lincoln Kumalo inspired by Mandela.


Drummond, June. Burden of Guilt. London: Victor Gollancz, 1991.
-------. Farewell Party. London: Victor Gollancz, 1971.
-------. Hidden Agenda. London: Victor Gollancz, 1993.
-------. I Saw Him Die. London: Victor Gollancz, 1979.
-------. Junta. London: Victor Gollancz, 1989.
-------. Northern Miner. London: Victor Gollancz, 1959.
-------. Old Bones Buried Under. London: Robert Hale, 2006.
-------. Slowly the Poison. Victor Gollancz, 1975.
-------. The Black Unicorn. London: Victor Gollancz, 1959.
-------. The Patriots. London: Victor Gollancz, 1979.
-------. Welcome, Proud Lady. London: Victor Gollancz, 1964.
 + Many others

SA writer, “SA’s Queen of Crime”.

Mystery / Golden Age tradition

Amateur sleuths. USA editions with Holt Rhinehart, Schuster, Dodd Mead, and Walker.


Du Camp, Alwyn. Cyclone Capricorn. Clairwood: Mercantile Printing Works, 1969.
--------. Twana. Clairwood: Stockwell, 1977.




Earle, Peter J . Purgatory Road. Haarlem: PJE Publishing, 2008.
-------. The Barros Pawns. Haarlem: PJE Publishing, 2009.



“a double murder, with a one-way ticket to hell” (front cover). Published by Matador in UK & self-pub (?) in SA.


Eaton, Tom. The De Villiers Code. Johannesburg: Penguin, 2005.


Parody of The Da Vinci Code, set in South Africa.


Ebersohn, Wessel. A Lonely Place to Die. London: Gollancz, 1979.
-------. Closed Circle. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1990.
-------. Divide the Night. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1981.
-------. Store up the Anger: A Novel. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1980.
-------. The Centurion. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1980.
-------. The October Killings. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2009.
-------. The Top Prisoner of C-Max: A Novel. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2012.
-------. Those Who Love Night. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2010.

Author & editor of Succeed magazine


Prison psychiatrist Yudel Gordon & lawyer Abigail Bukula. Also published by Pantheon and Penguin. Store up the Anger banned because of allusions to Steve Biko.


Edwards, Tom. No Greater Freedom. Durham, Conn.: Eloquent Books, 2010.


Partial SA setting.


Eland, Charles. The Desperate Search. London: Hale, 1971.




Ellis, Kurt. By Any Means. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 2014.

Sales & author



Erasmus, Barbara. Chameleon. N. p.: Book SA, 2008.

Author & freelance journalist. Other works not crime.


White-collar / corporate crime


Etherington, Graham. Black Madonna. Port Elizabeth: BrenGrey Publishing, 1999.



Dan Brown-type theme. Self-pub?


Folscher, Barbara. Blind Faith. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 2007.

TV reporter & writer


TRC background


Fouche, James. Jack Hanger. New York: Raider Publishing, 2010.


Psych thriller / noir

Dave Matters


Friedman, Graeme. The Fossil Artist. Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2010.

Clinical psychologist


Galgut, Damon. A Sinless Season. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1982.
-------. The Impostor. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2008.
-------. The Quarry. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1995.

Award-winning SA author. Other works not crime.

Mystery / literary fiction

Amateur sleuths, with some police involvement. The Quarry was filmed. Also published by Penguin and Black Cat.


Gardiner, Gordon. At the House of Dree. London: Chapman & Hall, 1928.
-------. The Man with a Weak Heart. London: Chapman & Hall, 1932.
-------. The Pattern of Chance. London: Chapman & Hall, 1929.
-------. The Reconnaissance. London: Chapman & Hall, 1914.

Scottish author who worked in SA; set in SA.


Also published by Sampson Low & Marston


Gilpin, Tracy. Double Cross. N. p.: Black Star Crime, 2008.


Thriller / romance

Black Star Crime is an imprint of Mills & Boon


Glanville, Ernest. A Fair Colonist. London: Chatto & Windus, 1894.
-------. The Lost Heiress. London: Chatto & Windus, 1891.

Et al.

SA writer. Transported the first printing press from Grahamstown to Griqualand West by ox wagon in 1870 & began publishing a newspaper in Kimberley.



Godfrey, Peter. Death under the Table. Cape Town: SA Scientific, 1954.
-------. The Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf le Roux. Norfolk, VA: Crippen & Landru, 2002.


Short stories

Inspector Dirk Joubert & Rolf le Roux, Cape Town CID. Stories first published 1948–1986.


Golakai, H. J. The Lazarus Effect. Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2011.
-------. The Score. Cape Town: Kwela, 2015.

Liberia-born author. (Hawa).


Journalist Vee Johnson


Graham, Mark. The Harbinger. London: Headline, 1988.

US author. Other works not set in SA.

Political thriller

Homicide detective Nigel Mansell


Gray, Andrew. The Fence. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 2007.

Legal & business advisor


Investigator Jan Klein


Gray, Stephen. Drakenstein: A Novel. Johannesburg: Justified Press, 1994.

SA academic & poet. Many other books not crime.

Mystery / horror

“A Johannesburg studio is shooting a horror movie on location in the Maluti mountains when events overtake them”.


Greenberg, Louis. Dark Windows. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2014.

Writes with Sarah Lotz



Greene, L. Patrick. Dynamite Drury. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1929.
-------. Major Adventures. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1928.
-------. The Devil’s Kloof. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1928.
-------. The Major-Diamond Buyer. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1924.
-------. The Red Idol. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co, 1928.
Et al.

UK-born author, lived in Southern Africa & USA. First name spelt Louis or Lewis.


Grosskopf, Hein. Artistic Graves: A Political Thriller. Johannesburg: Ravan Press, 1993.

Former MK member

Political thriller

Crime & revolution


Gumbi, Vusi. Don't Kill the Dead. Pittsburg, PA: Dorrance Publishing, 2011.


Harman, Neal. Yours Truly Angus MacIvor. London: Arthur Barker, 1952.




Harris, Peter. Cry Hold! London: John Long, 1970.
-------. Letters of Discredit. London: John Long, 1964.
-------. The Final Set. London: John Long, 1965.
-------. What Became of Alex Bretherton. London: John Long, 1967.


Mystery / psych thriller

Also published by The Mystery Book Guild.


Harris, L. J. Revival. Kloof: SASSPA, 2006.


Harris, Rex. A Hand in Diamonds. London: Constable, 1961.

Pseudonym of Reginald Duckett Harris, born in SA.


Hayward, Glynnis. A Telling Time. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2002.


Helman, Cecil G. The Golden Toenails of Ambrosio P. London: Atlas, 1990.


Herrmann, Lee. Mystery at Mount Mountbatton.  Cape Town: That's Bone Publishing & Media, 2011.



Based on 2001 radio drama Murder in the Morning created by Lee Herrmann and Jannes Eiselen.


Heyns, Michiel. Lost Ground: A Novel. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 2011.

Well-known literary authors. Many works not crime.

Mystery / literary fiction

Sunday Times Literary Award 2012.


Heyns, Werner. Bushveld Gold. Johannesburg: Transvaler Boekhandel, [1966?]
------- The Haunting of Fairview. Johannesburg: Dagbreek Book Store, 1962.
-------. Smugglers' Cove. Johannesburg : APB, 1963.    
Et al.




Hichens, Joanne, ed. Bad Company. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2009.


Short stories

Stories by Margie Orford, Deon Meyer, Richard Kunzmann, David Dison, Jassy Mackenzie, Diale Tlholwe, Andrew Brown, Tracey Farren, Mike Nicol, Peter Church, Tim Keegan, Michael Williams, Jane Taylor, Michael Stanley, Dirk Jordaan, Meshack Masondo, and Joanne Hichens.


Hichens, Joanne. Divine Justice: A Rae Valentine Mystery. Kenilworth: Mercury, 2011.
-------. Sweet Paradise. N. p.: Tattoo Press, 2015.



PI Rae Valentine. Sweet Paradise self-pub.


Hichens, Joanne and Mike Nicol. Out to Score. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2006.


Hard-boiled thriller

PI (former cop) Mullet Mendes & Vincent Saldana


Hinds, L. D. The Hidden Dream. New York: Raider Publishing International, 2008.

(Leigh Dale)


Hobbs, Jenny. Thoughts in a Makeshift Mortuary. London: Grafton Books, 1990.
-------. Napoleon Bones. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2013.

Acclaimed SA author. Other works not crime.

Literary fiction

Murder seen as effect of apartheid?


Holmes, Priscilla. Now I See You. Cape Town: Modjadji, 2014.

Other works not crime.


Detective Inspector Thabisa Tswane


Human, Charlie. Apocalypse Now Now. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2013.


Supernatural thriller


Jacobs, Steve. Diary of an Exile. Johannesburg: Ad Donker, 1986.
-------. Light in a Stark Age. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1984.
-------. The Enemy Within. London: Heinemann AWS, 1995.
-------. Under the Lion. London: Heinemann AWS, 1988.

SA writer & sub-editor

YA / legal drama

Lawyer Jeremy Spielman. Also published by Heinemann.


Jenkins, Geoffrey. A Grue of Ice. London: Collins, 1962.
-------. A Twist of Sand. London: Collins, 1959.
-------. Hunter-Killer. London: Collins, 1966.
-------. Scend of the Sea. London: Collins, 1971.
-------. The River of Diamonds. London: Collins, 1964.
-------. The Watering-Place of Good Peace. London: Collins, 1960.

Very popular & prolific author. Other works not crime.

Thriller / adventure

Thrillers without specific detectives. Later HarperCollins; re-issued in Fontana.


Jute, Andre. Reverse Negative: A Novel of Suspense. Melbourne: Hyland, 1979.

SA author. Also wrote as Andrew McCoy (e.g. The Insurrectionist).

Adventure / spy


Kallaway, Dee. Summer of the Wasps. Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1995.




Karsten, Chris. Face-Off. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 2014.
-------. The Skin Collector. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 2012.
-------. The Skinner’s Revenge. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 2013.

Other works of non-fiction, true crime, Afrikaans.

Mystery / thriller


Katz, Steve. Black Heat. [Elland, UK]: Kinglake Publishing, 2010.


Keegan, Tim. Tromp's Last Stand. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2007.

Author well-known for non-fiction / history.

Crime satire

Detective Jake Tromp


Kendal, Rosamund. The Murder of Norman Ware. Johannesburg: Jacana, 2012.

Doctor & author. Other works not crime.


Detective de Villiers


Kunzmann, Richard. Bloody Harvests. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2005.
-------. Dead-End Road. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2008.
-------. Salamander Cotton. Johannesburg: Pan Macmillan, 2006.

Namibian-born novelist

Mystery / police

Detectives Harry Mason & Jacob Tshabalala. Also published in England by Macmillan.


La Guma, Alex. Time of the Butcherbird. London: Heinemann, 1979.

Protest writer

Crime elements


Lazarus, Greg. Paradise. Cape Town: Kwela, 2014.
-------. When in Broad Daylight I Open my Eyes. Cape Town: Kwela, 2012.

Writing pair Greg Fried & Lisa Lazarus

Thriller / psych


Lee, Jeffrey. Dog Days. London: Bantam, 2002.
Et al.

SA born


Levitt, Wilfred. Fetish: Another Captain Rhino Rheeders Murder Thriller with a Sharp Strain of Deviant Sex. Johannesburg: Janus, 1998.
-------. Narrative Murder. Cape Town: Jane Cowen?,  1982.
-------. Time for Murder. Johannesburg: Justified Press, 1998.

SA writer


Captain Rhino Rheeders


Lindsay, Kathleen. The Slasher. Pietermaritzburg: Albatross, 1939.
 + 78 others in crime genre

Aka Hugh Desmond. UK writer who lived in SA. Many pseudonyms.


Lorimer, Penny. Finders Weepers. Cape Town: Umuzi, 2014.



Journalist Nix Mniki


Lotz, Sarah. Exhibit A. Johannesburg: Penguin, 2009.
-------. Tooth and Nailed. Johannesburg: Penguin, 2010.

Other works not crime.


Lawyer Georgie Allen


Luman, Reginald E. Blind Justice: A Thriller. Cape Town: Reginald E. Luman, [1977?]. 





Last Modified :Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:53:12 SAST