Thursday, August 4, 2022


 Michael - Thursday

It’s been said that water is the lifeblood of Africa. In the south and north, it’s a precious resource. Everyone knows of the importance of the Nile in prehistoric times. Even today, there is conflict over the water of the Blue Nile with various countries concerned about dams and water usage upstream from them. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan are all involved. Equatorial Africa is better supplied with water as a result of better rainfall supplying huge permanent rivers such as the Congo.

Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia

In southern Africa, the Kavango River is a crucial resource. The river rises in the high country of Angola (which normally gets good summer rains) and flows through Angola across the Caprivi strip of Namibia and into Botswana. In Botswana it is a crucial resource for the people and wildlife from Shakawe in the north all the way to the magnificent Okavango Delta which is a huge floodplain in the central Kalahari Desert. The water never reaches the sea. It takes nearly six months to reach its maximum flood extent in the Kalahari—100 miles across and down to the town of Maun in the south—and attracts animals and birds from all the neighbouring areas. The herbivores come for the water and fresh green vegetation and the predators come for the herbivores. The water spreads into a network of streams and channels surrounding lush islands which even sport palm trees. The environment is nothing short of miraculous.

The Delta from the air

For reasons connected with salt content in the water and the geology of the region, the water really is the lifeblood of the Okavango. The Delta needs the annual floods to maintain what is actually quite a fragile ecology.

Map from A Deadly Covenant
 showing the area

Namibia and Botswana are both arid countries and are seriously short of water. About twenty years ago, Windhoek, Namibia’s thriving capital city, proposed running a pipeline from the Kavango where it crosses the Caprivi to supply the city. The project was shelved among heated protests from Botswana and environmentalists, but the final decision was probably rather a matter of cost that ecology. (It’s about 500 miles from Windhoek to the Kavango.)

Lions napping near the river

However, people from Shakawe in the north all the way to the Okavango in the south utilize the water in a variety of ways. Also the rains have been less generous in Angola in some recent years and the floodwater reaching Maun has been well below average in those years. How all this will play out with global warming, one can only imagine. I advise a visit to the Okavango sooner rather than later.

When Stan and I were thinking about themes and settings for our new book, A Deadly Covenant, to be released in North America in a few weeks’ time, we wondered what sort of effect and reaction there would be to a water project to irrigate some of the Kalahari area somewhat back from the river. Fortunately for the Okavango in reality nothing significant is likely to obtain government approval because of the importance of the Okavango to tourism in the country. But sometimes there are ways around barriers when there is money and pride involved. The characters in A Deadly Covenant have both, and a local chief of an area south of Shakawe wants the water project to be his legacy. Not everyone feels the same way. People on both sides of the argument are willing to go to extreme lengths, even murder. Excessive for a battle over water? It’s not just water, it’s lifeblood. 

September events:


Launch of A Deadly Covenant


Wednesday, 7. 4:30 – 5:30 pm 

Totally Criminal Cocktail Hour at Valley Bookstore

The Zephyr Theatre, 601 N Main St, StillwaterMN 55082

Find out more about the event HERE.


Friday, 9, 1:45 – 2:30 pm 


The Mystery of Multiple Points of View and Multiple Timelines (Writers use dual perspectives/multiple narrators and alternating timelines to tell their stories.)

Marty Ambrose; William Boyle; Mary R. Davidsaver; B.A. Shapiro; Julie Carrick Dalton; Stanley Trollip (Moderator)

Saturday, 10, 11:30 -12:15 pm 


Under the Sun or Below Zero (You’ve heard of “setting as a character.” Well … what about the weather?  These authors’ works represent a dichotomy of climates where rising temps or bone-chilling cold are just as effective as any villain.)

Alexander McCall Smith; Stan Trollip (Michael Stanley); Catriona McPherson; Jo Nesbø ; Matthew Goldman (Moderator); Caro Ramsay

Thursday, 15, 12:30 – 1:00 pm (UK time) 

Virtual event at the International Agatha Christie Festival

Agatha in Africa

Michael, Stanley and Zimbabwe author Bryony Rheam discuss Agatha Christie’s trip to South Africa and Southern Rhodesia and its connection with her mystery thriller The Man in the Brown Suit.


Monday 19, 6:00 pm 

Nokomis Library event

5100 S 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417 Phone: 612-543-6800


Wednesday 21, 6:00 pm 

Thomas St. Angelo Public Library of Cumberland event

1305 2nd Ave, Cumberland, WI 54829. Phone: 715-822-2767


Thursday 22, 6:30 pm 

Spooner Library event

421 High St, Spooner, WI 54801 Phone. 715-635-2792


Saturday 24, 1200

The Bookstore at Fitger’s

600 East Superior Street, Duluth MN 55802

Tuesday, 27, 6:00 pm 

Launch of A Deadly Covenant at Once Upon A Crime

604 W. 26th Street, MinneapolisMN 5540 Phone: 612.870.3785 Email:

With Mary Ann Grossman

October events:


Saturday 1, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Meet us at the Deep Valley Book Festival

Mankato, MN

Free book festival. We’ll be there from 9am to 3pm. The event takes place at the WOW! Zone, conveniently located at 2030 Adams Street in Mankato, just off Highway 14.


Thursday 6, 7:00 pm

Barnes and Noble HarMar

2100 Snelling Ave N, Roseville, MN 55113


Saturday 8. 

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore

4014 N Goldwater Blvd #101, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 Phone:(480) 947-2974 Toll Free: (888) 560-9919 Email:

Stanley joins Barbara Peters on Saturday afternoon to chat about A Deadly Covenant.


Friday, 14, 10 am 

Lake Country Booksellers event

4766 Washington Ave, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 Phone: 651-426-0918


Saturday, 15, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm 

Twin Cities Book Festival

Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul, Minnesota


1 comment:

  1. Congrats on a terrific tour! I haven’t had one of those in quite a while and certainly not that extensive. I was prepping for the adventure of a lifetime in 2019--a safari in the Okavango Delta on horseback, a combination of two things I love: riding horses and seeing animals in the wild. And along came Covid. *sigh*