Review: Brian Joss
Instead of spending time in Stellenbosch with Blikkies “Balthasar” van Blerk, his long-time mentor and only friend after more than 20 years in the SAPS, Inspector Albertus Beeslaar attends his funeral and stumbles into a robbery “gone wrong” in the iconic oak tree-lined town with its white gabled houses.
Beeslaar is on his way from a small one-street dorpie near Upington, where he is now based, when he gets a call from Blikkies’ daughter, Tertia, to say that her father had died three days earlier. Earlier, Beeslaar helped to bring to justice the killers of Freddie Swarts and her adopted daughter, Klara Boois, who were murdered at the farm, Huilswater, with the help of his rookie colleague Sergeant Johannes “Jah-nis” Ghaap (Weeping Waters, reviewed).
So instead of exploring the area with his old pal, Beeslaar gets roped in by Captain Vuyokazi Qhubeka of the Stellenbosch SAPS to solve the murder of Elmana du Toit, the wife of a millionaire property developer, Wynand du Toit, who was brutally beaten and found dead in their mansion by her two traumatised children. Reluctantly, Beeslaar is drawn into the investigation by Captain Qhubeka, as well as the Du Toit family whose matriarch, Rea, doesn’t believe that Qhubeka or her black colleagues will do a proper job.
As Beeslaar gets deeper into the mire he uncovers the dark side of Stellenbosch: corruption, drugs, shady property deals, religion, gangsters from the Cape Flats and blackmail.
Meanwhile Ghaap who is working in Soweto, against Beeslaar’s advice, to get experience, is teamed up with two warrant officers, Sibusiso Mthethwa and Bandile Mabusela from Orlando East police station, who are supposed to show him the ropes but treat him as their personal skivvy. Ghaap gets involved with a group of hard-boiled “Trackies” who specialise in recovering hijacked vehicles (and people) and joins them in the frantic search for a pregnant Gerda Matthee and her child, Kleinpiet ,who have been kidnapped by a sangoma known as “The Fatha”, but so evil that people think he is an urban legend.
Ghaap ,who regards Beeslaar as a mentor since the Huilswater incident, keeps him up to date with events in Soweto including the search for the hijackers and Matthee, who unknown to Ghaap, is Beeslaar’s ex-lover whose partner, an Albanian, Baz, wants to marry her.
Our Fathers is a white-knuckle thriller, with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you glued from page 1. The tension never lets up and it ends on a cliff-hanger so you can be sure we will be reading more about Beeslaar and Ghaap who will soon be household names.
Brynard gave an inkling of her potential in Weeping Waters, now with Our Fathers she has established herself as one of South Africa’s top crime writers. Our Fathers is available in Afrikaans as Onse vaders.