Why him? Middle of the night the boss Emmanuel Cooper comes in on a murder case. The crime scene Roselet, a remote backwater in the rural foothills of the Drakensberg, and thus the local police chief Desmond Bagley Trust the Colonel would actually responsible. His subordinates the case to, to convey its career?
In fact, he patronized him for a long time, and that is unusual in South Africa in 1953, as nothing so much about the value of a human being decided as the skin color.
Van Niekerks: Colonel, Dutch, white. Bagley: Constable, Scot, white. Cooper: Detective Sergeant, Father Englishman mother Afrikaanerin, so “multiracial”. As “white-skinned Kaffer child” grew Emmanuel in the slums of Jo’burg on, from a farm family ( “tight devout Afrikaners”) was adopted, went to war to Europe, returned with medals decorated back and was honored with a job as a criminal investigator. But his warrant card places it in no way equal to his colleagues Caucasians. It leaves to the unspectacular cases, he may “collect garbage” to.
Still lower in rank and appreciation is Cooper’s assistant from the “Native Detective Branch,” Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala, a Zulu. The result is his superior faithful and valuable assistance. After a Zulu shepherd boy has led the two police officers on dirt tracks up into the mountains to the scene suggests the “multiracial” nothing to prevent than hostility. Misunderstandings, aggression and reticence can not get on it. Shabalala, however, is familiar with the traditions, rituals and behaviors of the locals can communicate and maneuver.
If only because with a sophisticated appearance of the black two-meter man draws everyone’s attention, but also solves diffuse feelings of mistrust and fascination.
With their arrival, a touching picture offers. The dead woman’s Amahle, “the beautiful”, and is a pretty Zulumädchen of only seventeen. They have been lovingly laid out in the open. Under the shady branches of a fig rocks you may rest with red and yellow wildflowers flowers strewn body on a bed of grass and moss. A circle wehklagender mothers of the clan surrounds the mourning site. Her hands and body have smeared with earth. Wayside hold three with clubs and spears hunting armed men in cow skins guard.
The marks on the ground around the crime scene are largely destroyed. Cooper noticed a “pea-sized, bruise” on the inside of the left thigh and a tiny puncture site at waist level – too little to reveal clues about the crime to. For more precise investigations would have to bring the body to the district doctor. However, for the mourning women it’s hard to take that the wrong hands even touch the body, let alone get rid of him.
Coopers investigations get from all sides headwind. The doctor in the white farmer-town Roselet refuses to lay hands on the black body. Station commander Bagley, although responsible, slows its commitment with flimsy excuses. he is under the thumb of Ian Reed, the richest farmers in the area, whose family has worked Amahle as “impeccable housekeeper”? From someone like Ian Reed no readiness is expected to cooperate with a Zulu and a “mixed-race”. Amahles father, the clan chief, who in turn had very different intentions: He wanted to marry his daughter soon. That would make him richer by twenty cows.
Malla Nunn, born in Swaziland and emigrated in the seventies to Australia, puts us back to the wedding of apartheid. The ruling party holds Nasionale Black for “inherently underprivileged” and lazy and justified with a stabilized for decades suppression system. The groups are defined by their race live not only physically strictly separated, but also qualitatively. While the ruling and propertied whites open to all freedoms, the existence of the black population is strictly regulated. Gross and subtle reprisals exacerbate their daily lives, strict criminal laws punish every infraction, open discrimination undermines their self-esteem. Many examples illustrate how all of this manifests every day and everywhere: even in the exercise of his official activities as a police officer must Samuel Shabalala carry no weapon and drive a car. Like all “non-whites” must use it special way, transport, shops and restaurants. he can his mind only manifest when he is asked.
Also among the white population is white not the same white. Relations between groups and individuals are first once coined by racial and nationalist point of view, as they have evolved from the colonial past. In Roselet been denied a Dr. Zweigman a hotel room – the man is indeed a respectable physician, but also a German Jew and a “jumped-foreigners”/
Despite these references Malla Nunn’s crime is not a political book, not reckoning with the old system. , This provides only a framework. As a breeding ground for action rather acts Zulu culture. Long before their marketing as a tourist attraction these people perform a self-confident, independent living far away from the threatening modernity. Do not remember someone taking their ancestral customs, beliefs, freedoms and rights. “No one, not even a white man who writes to me what I should do in my own Kraal and leave,” blares the indomitable Big Chief the approaching policemen from. Soon, Coopers investigation to dance on shaky high wire, and only Shabalalas knowledge and skillful diplomacy provide him with a safety net.
The author does not close his eyes to the fact that discrimination not only emanates from the whites. The Zulu live Although close to nature, but in archaic structures with its own kind of master race. Their clans are strictly organized hierarchically and mutually hostile fatal. In each of the respective Kraal Big Chief has absolute authority. His wives make life each other to hell, to enforce a pecking order.
Further, women are without rights, to the whims of their fathers and men and how bartered goods. Like all primitive peoples believe the Zulu in gods and ghosts, tell of their origins and power their myths and provide further pressure. Magic and animal sacrifices are gracious favor of the gods, wrongdoers must be punished according to their will. Also Amanthe one assumes a bad offense and therefore buried them “sitting up”. With this terrible curse her soul will never find peace.
“Valley of Silence” begins quietly descriptive pace, the tension increases slowly over the course of the linear plot development. The descriptions of the natural beauty and unobtrusive remarks on culture and society, the author devotes much space. This makes us readers on the other side of the globe to understand what the actors move. The beautiful chief’s daughter Amahle suffered from the constraints of the kraal, but to be able to escape without them. Detective Cooper is nowhere at home. The glorious military service is over, in his authority, he is little more than tolerated, white farmers appreciate it just as much as the proud Zulu. For him, however, the person counts.
By treating your partner with respect and uses, Shabalala is given the opportunity to initiate the decisive coup for release of the offender. While the clever solution of “Kaffir affair” will enable later no Staubflocke to vibrate, but still General Hyde will be satisfied with the result. About the two successful detectives they will say that they were “fine” – and the modest commendation is apparently already the ultimate in career advancement, followed by two as they may hope/