4 out of 4 stars
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Who Killed Chatunga is a murder mystery novel that is set in Zimbabwe. The book tells the story of a murder inside the Ibwe family home and the attempt to identify the killer, all while unraveling the dark secrets of this powerful family. The author, Muvhaki Tasu, brings into light multiple themes such as corruption and colonial history to commentate on Zimbabwe’s political and cultural scenery.
The book starts with a Canadian named Shamiso Mathe as she travels to Zimbabwe to meet her fiancé’s family. However, the family, being rich and powerful as they are, won’t allow their son to be married to Shamiso. In the middle of this drama, a murder takes place inside the household, and Shamiso is framed for the murder. Hoping to clear Shamiso’s name, the housekeeper, Shoko, hatches a plot to reveal the dark secrets of the corrupt family, along with the identity of the murderer.
The book makes use of multiple themes such as corruption, superstition, and colonial history, all of which form the backdrop of the murder mystery. These themes are unified and expressed through Shamiso’s experiences with the Ibwe family, a family that embodies the corruption that plagues Zimbabwe. Using all these, the book paints the political and cultural scenery of Zimbabwe through the characters’ interactions and the mind games they’re engaged in.
However, because the author tends to commentate on the political and cultural scenery of Zimbabwe, the book engages in too much exposition to describe the characters’ backgrounds. This can make the novel too dry to read in certain parts, and the reader is being faced with explanations rather than an immersive story. Of course, providing background information can be good practice so that the reader won’t miss some nuances the author might have intended. But the author may benefit from focusing on writing an immersive story while seamlessly integrating the story’s themes.
Nevertheless, the book provides an excellent story such that the characters don’t act as mere mouthpieces to the author’s political views. Overall, Who Killed Chatunga is an interesting book that makes use of politics and culture to add to the story’s intrigue. Despite the instances of dry exposition in the book, I have to give it 4 out of 4 stars because the themes add great value to the story. While I can’t recommend this book to younger audiences because there are scenes with sex and violence, I can recommend this book to those who wish to see more variety in the murder mystery genre.
Who killed Chatunga?
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