Book Review Weeping Waters | Karyn Brynard – Not Everyone is Your Friend

Weeping Waters by Karin Brynard is a crime fiction novel that is set in a small community by the Karoo, Northern Cape. The community setting is particularly important here, as this novel explores how people can be affected by what happens in their surrounding environment.

We’re introduced to a police detective Inspector Albertus Beeslaar. He swapped his high-paced job in Johannesburg to settle in a town where the only crimes are in stock farming. On his arrival, the gruesome murder of Freddie Swarts and her daughter welcomes him. Freddie’s throat was slit and her adopted daughter lay in a pool of blood.
Besides the murders, the inspector has to deal with his young unimpressionable detectives. Both detectives are not schooled on how to treat a crime scene. This of course annoys the hell out of the inspector. He already has a triggered temper which makes him out to be a racist when he scolds his two sergeants.

Inspector to the Superintendent, “There was no racism…My impatience with his (Sergeant Gershwin Pyl) shoddy work isn’t racism!”

All the while reading this story I could not place who the killer was. My first suspect was the mysterious farm manager, Dam de Kok. Dam and Freddie seem to have had some kind of relationship. We read later that Freddie left the farm to Dam, in case something happened to her. And his alibi was always cagey.

On his whereabouts that fateful Wednesday, Dam claims he was at the bank. Yet, he cannot explain where and what he was doing during that hour while waiting for the bank to reopen.

Could he have driven back to the farm, murder his boss, change his clothes, and go back to the bank?

Then there were more murders. Among the murders, an old monkey is found with a throat slit off with a piece of wire across its forehead. That would only mean, Dam would not be suspect any longer. He loved animals and birds, a falconer he said. In any case, why would he slit a monkey’s throat and place it in front of his house?

Later, a character is introduced. This character is a wanted suspect in Joburg. He drives a BMW and is identified as leaving a murder scene.

Why would he murder Freddie?

Freddie was a genuinely nice person. She had hopes of adopting a child with alcohol syndrome. Again, she wanted to help the community of the Griquas in getting their land back. The writer then narrates a bit of the history of the Griquas through the local museum’s curator.

Who would benefit from killing Freddie?

Her need to be the ‘Messiah’ annoyed the local farmers. Had her petition to find the land’s rightful owners, the farmers would have to leave or sell their farms. Her death meant that no one would interfere and would threaten their livelihood.

Then there was her ”best friend”, Nelmarie. She promises to make Freddie one of the renowned artists, she believes in Freddie’s talents. Throughout the story, there is no hint that she could want to kill Freddie and why would she?

By the end of the book, the author reveals who murdered poor Freddie and why. It was a twist of events for me on realising who did it



Weeping Waters by Karin Brynard

Weeping Waters is a translation of the Afrikaans bestseller Plaasmoord. Generally, the book was a page-turner and very fast-paced. Weeping Waters is a book that will make you think about how your own country and history have shaped you and influenced the present day. My only excuse for being late to the Karin Brynard party is that crime fiction is not my choice of genre, I am more of a historical fiction kind of girl.

“A slow-burner that gets hotter and hotter as the pages turn.’’ – Mike Nicole

I found Weeping Waters at our local library, Muizenburg Library

Get yourself a copy from @exclusivebooks 

Product: Weeping Waters

Author: Kary Brynard

Publisher: Penguin Random House SA

ISBN: 9780143539124

Genre: Crime Fiction

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