Close this search box.
Close this search box.

South African crime fiction writers, a big update

Share/like this post:

When we started traveling to South Africa on the wine tours we organize , we also started reading South African detective stories (our pastime when we’re not working with wine). It turns out that South Africa has many very talented writers in this genre. Here are some suggestions, greatly expanded since our last overview of South African crime fiction writers.. Many of them also give you a lot of insight into South African society, landscape and country.

South Africa should really be better known as a country with many talented authors of suspense novels.

Here on our crime fiction blog, you will find all our reviews of South African detective stories. (They are in Swedish, but you can easily translate them with e.g. Google Translate.)

They are a good preparation for coming to South Africa on wine tour (even if the only crime on the wine tour may be a bit of excess of wine).

In brief:

Deon Meyer: The most famous with an international reputation. Writes about the Cape Town policeman Benny Grissel, but also some other topics. Some of his early non-Grissel books are particularly outstanding.

Mike Nicol: Also one of the top writers. Writes about the private investigator Fish Pescado and his ex-spy partner, and a noir trilogy about two private security consultants, Mace Bishop and Pylon Buso, living under long shades from apartheid.

Andrew Brown: He’s written several crime novels, police stories, but I’ve only read two. Very good ones. Works as a lawyer and as a volunteer police office in Cape Town.

Margie Orford: Like Clockwork was an excellent story about Cape Town’s criminal underworld.

Rudie van Rensburg: Have written several thrillers but I think only one has been translated from Afrikaans, Piranha, it was a gruesome story, definitely worth reading.

Irma Venter: Have only read one book, Red Tide, about an ex-cop and a reformed hacker, but I will definitely try to find more.

Martin Steyn: Have only written one book, Dark Traces. Looking forward to his second.

Sally Andrew: a more light-hearted murder series that doubles as food porn. Excellent entertainment.

Chris Marnewick: A lawyer who has written a very curious book, Shepherds and Butchers, about a guard in the prison’s death row. One day he ends up in court accused (and obviously guilty) of murder. Made into a movie and contributed to the abolition of the death penalty.

Paul Mendelson: A series of excellent books about the old white Cape Town policeman Vaughn de Vries.

Johan Jack Smith: His only translated book is Zola, a rather brutal story; very well written.

Zakes Mda: A rather charming book about security guard Don Mateza and his manipulative girlfriend.

Chanette Paul: Sacrificed, as far as I know, her only criminal novel, unfortunately. Exciting story that starts in Stanford (where Springfontein Wines is located) and takes you to Congo and Belgium.

Tim Willocks: Has written several scary novels but only one set in South Africa, Memo From Turner. Very good.

South African detective novels and crime fiction books
South African detective novels and crime fiction books. copyright BKWine Photography

Share this post:

Get our free newsletter:

Share this post:

Get our free newsletter:

Monthly news on wine and wine travel.

Do yourself a wine-favour. Subscribe now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to comments:

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Explore all our wine tours:

Join one of our famous and unique Wine Tours on our scheduled programme.

Interested in a personalised bespoke wine tour? See here: Custom Wine Tours.

You can also take a look at more of our popular wine tour destinations.


Subscribe to our newsletter.

25,000 subscribers get wine travel and wine news every month. You too?