Joanne Hichens recently wrote about her travels abroad on Michael Sears’ Murder is Everywhere website.
DIVINE JUSTICE is Joanne’s third novel, following OUT TO SCORE (2006), co-authored with Mike Nicol and published in the USA as CAPE GREED, and STAINED (2009), published in the UK and France. She edited the first anthology of South African crime-fiction short stories, BAD COMPANY (2008) (Kubu makes an appearance), and THE BED BOOK OF SHORT STORIES (2010), both of which include her own work. She lives in Cape Town, but has recently been far to the north-east from home. Here she shares her feelings about the difference and similarity of cities.
Featuring the inimitable sleuth Rae Valentine, the setting of my new novel DIVINE JUSTICE is Cape Town at the toe of the African Continent. Voted Top Destination for Tourists by tripadvisor, Rae describes the harbour city, with Table Mountain as spectacular backdrop, as “a mix of sophistication and in-your-face Africa, a cross between London and Lagos, New York and Nairobi”. Indeed it’s a mix of first and third-world, of varying creeds and cultures, where wealth and glamour sit in stark contrast to poverty and struggle. It’s the perfect environment to forment craziness.
Here, the dream mansion that any Hollywood star would drool over, sits a five minute drive from shantytowns where shacks are constructed of cardboard and plastic. Remember that great sci-fi flick, District Nine? Well, no movie set was created. The impoverished squalor was a pukka South African the township.
As for Hong Kong, a city I recently visited for research, I reckon it’s an equally appealing setting for sci-fi as high density living sees apartment buildings touch the heavens. Not even my photos can capture the sense of the unreal. Demands for living space on this small section of land has meant building up, up, up. Fat fingers of concrete stretch up and disappear into a misty sky.
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Ndumiso Ngcobo’s latest Sunday Times column:
It’s that time of the year when the procrastinators among us are busy finalising holiday destinations. This is often cause for great consternation for my better half.
She’s responsible for organising our breaks, you see. This is because she knows that if it were left up to me, we would probably spend two weeks doing a tour of the taverns in northern Zululand or something similarly absurd. However, the real source of her angst is that she has grown to understand the nature of the beast that is yours truly.
In the past, I have waxed lyrical about my impressive array of personality disorders. Trust me, I have not scratched the surface.
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Let’s be honest, book signings are not always the most exciting events in the world, and most authors tend to anticipate theirs with at least some level of trepidation. What will I wear? What will I say? Will anyone arrive?
They also tend to balk at the idea of driving 5 hours to get there…
There were no such concerns for Alexander Parker, however, when he headed from Joburg to his signing at the Midlands Exclusive Books in Pietermaritzburg last week, because his transportation, courtesy of the delightful people at Aston Martin, was an envy-stirring, hand-bitingly good-looking DB9. In his book 25 Cars To Drive Before You Die, Alex describes the DB9 as “an epic beauty” and “an eater of kilometres, a devourer of continents” – and his venture down the N3 reminded him of this and more. By the time he reached Pietermaritzburg, he wasn’t too bothered about the signing, he said, because he would have happily turned around right then and there and cruised on back to the highveld if he had to.
As it turns out, Alex was met by scores of amazed shoppers as he steered his shiny ride into the Midlands Mall, the signing went off like a bomb and the trip home was as glorious as it could be.
Alex Parker signing books at Midlands EB
The author's ride
Slightly more professional photograph of an Aston DB9
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