Let the Dead Lie

An Emmanuel Cooper Mystery

Let the Dead Lie

The second in a crime series set in 1950's South Africa when apartheid laws were first introduced.
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 400 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416586227 | 
  • April 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Let the Dead Lie includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Malla Nunn. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 

Discussion Questions

1. Early in the novel, we learn that Emmanuel Cooper did not know his father, thus complicating the issue of his race. How does this affect Emmanuel throughout the story?  Discuss what it would mean to be reclassified from a privileged group to a racial minority.

2. In the novel, lower classes are associated with violence and crime, and subsequently distinguished as “nonwhite.” Is this indicative of the time and place? Does the depiction of race in the novel resonate with current issues?

3. In chapter 4, Emmanuel can tell by Parthiv’s body language that he is lying to him. When else does Emmanuel realize he has been lied to and how does this affect his actions?

4. It could be argued that the Flying Dutchman is the least corrupt character Emmanuel comes across during his investigation. Would you agree with this? Who do you feel is the most corrupt? 

5. What would happen if the United States issued a law where race or religious affiliation had to be placed on your identificatio see more

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The Malla Nunn Collection #1
Blessed Are the Dead
A Beautiful Place to Die

About the Author

Malla Nunn
Photo Credit:

Malla Nunn

Malla Nunn was born in Swaziland, South Africa, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a filmmaker with three award-winning films to her credit and is currently at work on her next novel.