As a backdrop to a crime novel, South Africa provides a recent history full of multiple civil wars, government corruption, racial and tribal tensions, constitutional revolution, and one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Amidst this setting, Colonel Vaughn de Vries, whose unpredictable career in the South African Police Service began during the apartheid era, seeks to unravel complex homicides committed in the present, whose roots are often embedded in his country’s troubled past.

In ‘The History of Blood’, the adopted daughter of an apartheid-era politician whose career as a model in the USA has faltered, is found in a seedy airport motel, apparently a victim of suicide. But a message contained within her body sets off an investigation which, to resolve, will take De Vries from Cape Town across his country, to the Southern coasts, the Kruger Park, the metropolis of Johannesburg and even beyond his country’s borders.

Touching on the very real truth of modern day organized crime in South Africa, from drug smuggling, people smuggling, rhino horn poaching and the struggle for Southern African governments to find a single foothold within the mire of corruption, De Vries faces his most ruthless opponents yet.

The History of Blood by Paul Mendelson will be published by Constable in July 2016, price £13.99

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