Crime Fiction – South African Style


My crime novel, Present Tense, is set in Cape Town, South Africa. Since it was published, many readers have wanted to know more about crime fiction in that country, and asked me to recommend some good crime novels set there. So here’s a brief rundown, and pointers to some absolutely wonderful South African crime writers.

Like Australia, South Africa has a long tradition of crime writing, going back to the late nineteenth century. During apartheid (1948 – 1994) the country produced little crime fiction but after apartheid ended the genre took off and today crime fiction is very popular. Here are ten of my favourite South African crime writers, not in any particular order:



I am thrilled to announce that Present Tense has won the 2020 Ned Kelly award for best debut crime novel. These awards (we call them the Neddies) are given by the Australian Crime Writers Association. Here’s the announcement:

Along with being shortlisted for the Davitt Awards, that makes for some ritzy stickers on the cover.

Does where you read a novel affect how you read a novel?

This is the last of three blogs on reading.

Does where you read a book affect your understanding of it?

I ask because of a conversation I had with a friend. We were discussing books, and I said I was reading Olive Kitteridge. She said she’d read it but hadn’t enjoyed it. She’d been in Bali at the time, she added, and perhaps that had affected her evaluation.

So I started to think about what reading in a specific place brings to the experience. (more…)