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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Q and A with Priscilla Holmes on Bruce Dennill’s blog

Now I see youBruce Dennill caught up with Priscilla Holmes about her crime fiction novel, Now I See You

Tabisa Or Not Tabisa?, Or Of Xhosa It’s Ok To Take On Taboo Subjects
January 18,2015

Described as a “racy, pacy crime thriller,” Priscilla Holmes’ Now I See You has met with popularity and warm reception. Filled with the sights, sounds, and local flavor of the Eastern Cape especially, the book travels from the glittering restaurants of Johannesburg to the backroads of the rural Eastern Cape, from the corridors of financial and political power to the safe houses of rural tradition. It features a feisty and intelligent heroine, DI Tabisa Tswane, who, in her investigation into a series of robberies by masked, eerie-voiced gunmen, has to draw on her wits, courage, and self-awareness to navigate worlds dominated by men, culminating in a confrontation with her own troubled past.

Priscilla Holmes

To read the full interview, click here

Now I See You

Book details

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Witch Girl by Tanvi Bush coming out soon

Witch GirlTanvi Bush

Maggie Gee has this to say about Witch Girl:’Tanvi Bush is the real thing – a writer with nerve, verve, humour and courage. Read her!’

“It is a monstrous bruise of a sky. Thunder mutters and pounds the horizon sending vibrations through the slumbering city.”

This is modern Lusaka where the line between juju and religion is blurred, the arcane and the mundane muddle and nothing is what is seems. Under the surface lurks Luse, a sharp street child combing the gang-ridden city in a desperate search for Doctor Georgia Shapiro who can offer her a way back into her once-bright past. The Doctor is trying to unravel the mystery of her friend’s sudden death while mourning the new gap in her life and the AIDS crisis laying waste to the country around her. Meanwhile the Blood Of Christ Church and its enigmatic leader Priestess Selena Clark gain traction in the community with their murky promises of salvation and violent clandestine rituals. A small silver box links the three in ways they cannot imagine and will force the women to question who they trust, who they are and for who they fight. Witch Girl is a pacy crime thriller that juggles the past and the present effortlessly and whose magic holds the reader hostage until the final page.


In a Zambia that is experiencing the disintegration of family units as HIV/AIDS takes hold, the Blood of Christ Church makes its mark by distributing a film entitled Witch Children, a film about child demonization, where children feed off their parents. Eleven year old Luse’s father and mother are both HIV-positive activists, living healthy, happy lives. But once the family becomes involved with the Blood of Christ church, everything changes.

How is it that Luse and her little brother Joshua have ended up living in a storm drain in Lusaka, searching for someone named George Shapi? How did they come to have a special box from Harry the Rasta that holds answers about what happened to the missing Danish filmmakers who were investigating the highly secretive and heavily guarded Blood of Christ Street Child Rehabilitation Centre?

Through a unique blend of issues such as witchcraft, AIDS activism, religious extremism, Tanvi Bush weaves together a thrilling narrative with vivid descriptions and unforgettable characters.

About Tanvi Bush
Tanvi Bush grew up in Lusaka, Zambia. She later studied in UK, reading English and Theatre at Exeter University then Film Production at the Northern School of Film and TV. In the late 90’s Tanvi set up the Willie Mwale Film Foundation in Zambia and was the producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary Choka- Get Lost! (2001) which centred around a gang of young HIV/AIDS orphans living on the streets of Lusaka. In 2010 Tanvi completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and is currently undertaking a PhD. She lives in Corsham, Wiltshire with her guide dog, Grace.

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Now I See You by Priscilla Holmes – standing room only launch at The Book Lounge

written by Isabel Ritchie

Now I see youThis past Tuesday evening, The Book Lounge was flooded by readers eager for the launch of Priscilla Holmes’ debut novel Now I See You, “a tough-cookie cop adventure”, as described by fellow South African crime writer Joanne Hichens.

Priscilla was in conversation with famed journalist and author, Tim Butcher. They are friends, and this lent a fun, easy, chatty air to the interview. It also gave Tim the elbow room to saucily suggest that the sex scenes in the book are too good to not be true. After praising the well-written erotic moments (there’s sex in a toilet cubicle, and even naked Twister), Butcher engaged Priscilla about how Now I See You has “layers like an onion” which unpeel as the book progresses.

Holmes revealed that she was inspired by the true story of a young, gifted girl from a remote valley in the Eastern Cape, who was the first child from the community to be educated. She walked 10km every day, through all weather, to reach the farm school, and later acquired a bursary for a prestigious Grahamstown high school. This is the point where fiction took over from fact. Holmes’ protagonist became feisty Detective Inspector Thabisa Tswane, who leaves the valley (she thinks for good) to pursue a high profile police career in Jozi. Fourteen years later, a violent crimes case takes her back to her roots, and we start to see glimpses of the hidden layers that Tswane is comprised of.

The metaphor of an onion unpeeling as the book progresses can apply to all the main characters – which includes the villains, as well as to the various places where the novel is set. As we learn more about their pasts, unexpected subtleties are unearthed.

The significance of place is a key aspect of this “racy, pacy crime thriller”. The red hilled Eastern Cape valley of DI Tswane’s childhood, the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg, the brown and red carpeted police safe house in Grahamstown, and the various environments the criminals inhabit in their pasts and present, are etched vividly into the reader’s imagination. Colours, smells, and personalities of local inhabitants are all used to enhance the value each setting holds for a character, and then we get to see another layer of the character unfold as they themselves are transformed by their locations.

Priscilla Holmes and Brigadier Mene1779901_10152917819187448_2662428328474449301_n

During the Q&A session with the audience, Priscilla predicted that her characters will outlive her. They are irrepressible, they occupy her dreams, and they take her writing to places she never expected or planned to go to. She actually set out to write an adventure story, a quest featuring the girl who leaves the valley, and it spontaneously turned into crime fiction. Luckily for us, the end of Now I See You is not the last we’ll see of DI Tswane – she and her fellow characters have insisted that they will be appearing again.

Standing didn’t dampen the mood (it was so well attended that half the crowd didn’t get seats) – afterwards, a long queue formed for book signing by Priscilla, all the copies of Now I See You at the venue sold out, and it was clear that everyone involved, including the Modjaji team, was buzzing with satisfaction.

To see more pictures go to the Modjaji Books Facebook page.

Book details
Now I See You

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Launch of Now I See You by Priscilla Holmes at The Book Lounge

Priscilla HolmesNow I see you

‘A tough-cookie cop adventure, penned with a deft, light touch. Alexander McCall Smith, make space for Priscilla Holmes and her fabulous DI Thabisa Tswane!’ – Joanne Hichens

The Book Lounge and Modjaji Books are delighted to invite you to join us for the launch of Priscilla Holmes‘s new book, a crime fiction thriller, Now I See You. Tim Butcher will be in conversation with Priscilla about her racy, pacy, unputdownable krimi.

Tim Butcher has this to say about Now I See You: `A raw, raunchy thriller that interlinks remotest rural South Africa with affluent Johannesburg suburbia, asking questions of each and weaving a tale so rich and twisting that any reader will enjoy tracking it.’

‘I’m warning you, get off this case, Thabisa Tswane, otherwise you’ll die. Here’s a taste of what you’ll get.’

Armed robbery is nothing new in South Africa. But when a pair of clever and squeaky-sounding criminals go on a looting spree that rocks several small towns in the Eastern Cape, Detective Inspector Thabisa Tswane from The Eagles, the Special Violent Crimes Unit is called to work the case. There’s only one problem, one of the most important witnesses in the case is her estranged grandfather, Chief Solenkosi, who ordered her violent expulsion from the village over 10 years ago.

In another world of lunches at the Michelangelo, private game lodges and platinum cards, the rich and slick Ollis Sando smoothes his way through cocktail parties and networking meetings. He is rumoured to be in line for the presidency in the upcoming elections. But he has a dirty past, something to hide and a hostage to hide it for him.

In Now I See You Thabisa’s skills will be pushed to the limit. She will have to learn the difference between looking and seeing. And in stirring twists of fates, we’ll see that past and present blur, everything is interconnected and nothing can be assumed.

To read how Priscilla came to write this novel, what sparked her imagination, click here, on Lauren Beukes’s The Spark blog.

More about Priscilla Holmes: She was born in England and has lived in Austria, Hong Kong, Zambia, Australia and now in Cape Town, South Africa. Most of her working life was spent working as a communications consultant. Her first book, a teenage novel, The Children of Mer, was published in 2004. She runs creative writing workshops in Cape Town and has collaborated on two novels with her writing groups. She spent a lot of time in the Eastern Cape when she lived in Johannesburg, for fourteen years.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 28 October 2014
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cape Town CBD
  • Guest Speaker: Tim Butcher
  • Refreshments: Join us for a glass of Leopard’s Leap wine and snacks
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

Book Details
Now I See You

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Books not doeks – August special offer from Modjaji Books

Modjaji Books Womens Month Specials

Support a small indie South African women’s press in August which in South Africa is “Women’s Month” by buying books for yourself or a library. Check out our website to make your choices.

We’re offering the following specials:

Special offer #1

All novels including new ones at R160

All poetry including new poetry at R100

All short story collections R120

All non-fiction – R180

If you spend more than R500 – postage is free. If you spend below R500 postage is R25 per book

Special offer #2

Buy a book at its Recommended Retail Price and we will provide a free copy to a public or school library of your choice.

Guide to Recommended retail prices

Most novels are R200 to R220

Non-fiction R200 to R240

Jabulani Means Rejoice is R250

Short fiction R160

Poetry R150

You can buy books for libraries at the reduced price in Option #1 and we will deliver. Postage/delivery included if you spend more than R500 (otherwise costs R25 per book).

Email me for the Modjaji bank details and to place your order or for price queries.

Book details

Balthasar's Gift

The Last to Leave

To The Black Women We All Knew

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Balthasar’s Gift well and truly launched

Balthasar's GiftCharlotte Otter was in South Africa in June for a 4 city tour to launch the English version of her debut crime fiction novel, Balthsar’s Gift. She is a South African who lives in Heidelberg in Germany now.

The Big Book Launch Tour
Just back from South Africa, where I took Balthasar’s Gift to four cities and got to celebrate its launch with a lot of special people in wonderful book shops around the country. I was also honoured at each event to have a great co-host join me on stage (or in comfortable arm-chairs and once, a red leather sofa) and ask me questions about crime fiction in general and Balthasar’s Gift in particular. I’ve been alone with this book for many years, so I was more than happy to talk and talk and talk. Many people bought books, so I was happy to also sign and sign and sign.

Much of it has melted into a happy blur, but here’s what I can remember from each launch:

Read more about her whirlwind tour here

Balthasar's Gift

Book details

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Meet Charlotte Otter – author of Balthasar’s Gift in June on her book launch tour

Charlotte Otter at Frankfurt

Charlotte Otter at Frankfurt

Charlotte Otter, a South African writer who lives in Heidelberg in Germany with her family, has written a pacy, hard-boiled, feminist crime fiction novel, the first in a series, with Maggie Cloete, investigative journalist as the main character.

Join her at one of the four launches being held around the country, starting in Pietermaritzburg, where the novel is set. From there Charlotte will be going onto Durban, where Adams Books are hosting the launch, and the author will be in conversation with William Saunderson-Meyer.

The Cape Town launch will be at The Book Lounge, and Sam Wilson, the writer and director, will be in conversation with Charlotte that night.

Finally, Charlotte will be in Joburg, at Love Books talking to Fiona Snyckers.

Details below:



Balthasar's GiftBook details

Team Trinity

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Book Launch: Balthasar’s Gift by Charlotte Otter

Balthasar's Gift

Charlotte Otter at Frankfurt

Charlotte Otter at Frankfurt

Charlotte Otter, author of Balthasar’s Gift will be in South Africa in June to promote her debut crime fiction novel. It’s the first in a series featuring detective, Maggie Cloete, an investigative journalist who lives in Pietermaritzburg.

Charlotte Otter lives in Germany now, and her novel was first published in German. She is a journalist by training, and began her career as a trainee reporter on The Witness and The Star, before working at The Citizen as a crime and court reporter. She then moved to Anglo American and De Beers to do corporate communications. Charlotte relocated to Germany in 1996 to work for the German technology company SAP. She then freelanced for many years, writing for De Beers, SAP World, SAP Spectrum, EMBO encounters, Buzzine and the South African Marie Claire. She now works at SAP as a corporate communicator.Read more about Charlotte and her life and work here.

Charlotte will be launching her book in Pietermaritzburg on the 5th June at the Tatham Cafe and in Durban on the 11th June at Adams in Musgrave, in Cape Town at The Book Lounge on the 17th June, in Joburg at Love Books on the 19th June.

This title has already been published to critical acclaim in Germany:
Balthasar’s Gift is the hard-hitting overture to what we hope will be a long series. Die Welt
Abrasive, fast and instructive. Das Stern
Balthasar’s Gift is a scorching debut – from the Blog: Krimi-Couch

Maybe it was an error for crime reporter Maggie Cloete to ignore the call from the softly-spoken man. Now he is dead. Someone put four bullets in Balthasar’s chest. It is post-apartheid South Africa, at the turn of the century. In Pietermaritzburg, capital of KwaZulu-Natal, the ANC rules. However, in the townships and villages, fear and superstition rule too. Is it a political murder? Maggie’s instincts are on red alarm, and during the search for the truth, she comes up against both gangsters and politicians – and has their henchmen on her tail. However threats and attacks against her make her even more stubborn and determined. She learns too much about Balthasar’s life and his work at the AIDS Mission to be distant and professional. She is deeply, and dangerously, involved. Balthasar’s Gift continues the tradition of pacy, hard-boiled South African crime fiction.

Modjaji Books and The Book Lounge are delighted to invite you to join us for the launch of Balthasar’s Gift by Charlotte Otter. Charlotte will be in conversation with Sam Wilson.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 17 June 2014
  • Time: 5:30 PM for 6:00 PM
  • Venue: The Book Lounge, 71 Roeland Street, Cnr Buitenkant & Roeland Street, Cape Town 8001
  • Guest Speaker: Sam Wilson
  • Refreshments: Come and join us for a glass of wine and a snack
  • RSVP: The Book Lounge,, 021 462 2425

Book Details
Balthasar's Gift

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