Cover Image: Murder, Witchcraft and the Killing of Wildlife

Murder, Witchcraft and the Killing of Wildlife

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Member Reviews

I was intrigued by this book because it is not often I find a book that directly references my career. I knew I had to read it. It held my interest & was deeply descriptive. I would definitely recommend this to my colleagues so they can draw comparisons & contrasts between Ofc. Matthews' & their own positions.
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This book tells the story of the author's career as a Police Officer in Africa. But this isn't like any other Police memoir out there. It's packed full of unbelievable, amazing, and sometimes downright bizarre tales of cases he worked on and events that happened. We often hear about the constant same old same old in the UK where Police Officers are dealing with repeat offenders or drunken behaviour in the town centres so it's incredibly interesting to read Stephen's experiences working a broad range of cases such as those involving black magic, people smuggling, attempted assassination and more! 
There were some points where I would have liked the author to go into a bit more detail but I also appreciate that in memoirs, especially those that cover vast periods of time, there has to be a cut off point otherwise the book would go on forever. And sometimes the stories seemed a little chaotic and difficult to follow but I gradually realised that at the time of them happening things probably seemed a little chaotic so it was likely to be a realistic portrayal of how Stephen felt.
Stephen writes in a way that someone would tell a story, with all the natural tangencies and side stories. It reminded me of how my Grandad would tell stories. And it was nice to imagine the author sitting comfortably telling a younger generation all bout his time as a Police Officer in Africa. This book had me laughing out loud in some places and tearful in others. It is everything a memoir like this should be. Well done to the author :)
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This was such an interesting read, as it was a raw account of what it is like to be a police officer in Africa.  It is nothing like being one in America.  This was well written and an enjoyable read.
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My thanks to Pen & Sword True Crime for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Murder, Witchcraft, and the Killing of Wildlife’ by Stephen R. Matthews in exchange for an honest review.

The subtitle ‘Memoirs of a Police Officer in the Heart of Africa’ sums up the content of this work of true crime nonfiction. Matthews was only 21 in 1960 when he took up a post in Northern Rhodesia as an Assistant Inspector in the regional police force. He writes: “I was soon to be catapulted into a world of political unrest, with the serious undercurrents of witchcraft, murder and the continuous onslaught against the country’s precious wildlife, which unfortunately still carries on to the present day.”

Many of the cases he recounted were harrowing and gruesome though there were also humorous moments and a clearly a strong sense of camaraderie within his team. 

Matthews does assume that his readers appreciate that witchcraft, black magic, and their practitioners were (and are) a part of everyday reality in the region, intertwined with traditional religious beliefs. I do have a passing familiarity with the subject and appreciated that he reported his experiences with sensitivity and didn’t sensationalise. 

Overall, a fascinating memoir and an intense read.

His personal website contains a number of photographs from his time in Africa including of his loyal Doberman, Alex. I was pleased to read that Alex will be the subject of Matthews’ next book: 'My Boy Alex – Witchdoctor and Crime Fighter'. I can hardly wait!
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As a fan of safari type books, I very much enjoyed this new take on a much read topic.  It was fascinating to see not only the survival aspect, but the modern political climate as well.  It is most definitely a must-read for any armchair adventurer.
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Matthews gives us an in depth look at things happening at the Rhodesia (Zambia) border.  There is a lot of detail, and some of it could be considered geared towards more mature readers.  But I think this book would be good for anyone who wants to read about a bit of history in Africa.  One thing that stood out for me, as someone who is fascinated with true crime podcasts, was the talk on cannibalism.  I've only ever read one other non-fiction book about this specific act.  And honestly, it creeped me right out.  But the author delivers it in a way that is truthful and genuine.   A "this is just how it is" take.

Informative, fascinating and even a little gruesome at times, but well worth the read.

Publishes 11.30.19.

4/5 Stars
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This is a pretty fascinating book. It delves into real life experiences that are very harrowing to say the least of an investigator that deducted himself to o solving brutal crimes involving witchcraft and black magic in the heart of Africa. It is almost unfathomable to consider that things of this nature actually occur and the bravery and perseverance it took o delve into solving theses crimes. Very in-depth and intense. I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review and if you like true crimes concerning the occult I recommend this book. It is graphic and disturbing at times so please keep in mind it is a dark and grisly subject matter.
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Full review forthcoming......................................................................................................................................................................
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