The Karoo’s best loved agony aunt and crime fighter, Tannie Maria returns in a new mystery-thriller that takes us on a murderous journey with new allies and a little love-trouble.

Sally Andrew answered some questions we had about the latest instalment in this charming series:

If you could sum up Death on the Limpopo with just three words, which would you use?
Exciting Road Trip

How did Tannie Maria come about as a character? Does she have a particular real-world inspiration?
She spoke to me under a kameeldoring tree. I usually go deep into an African wilderness area to develop my characters and story-lines.

Who is your favourite detective in literature?
Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot

How would you describe your writing process?

Did writing Death on the Limpopo vary in any major way from writing the first two books?
It is more of a thriller than a classic detective. And it engages more with contemporary political issues.

What part does the Klein Karoo play in your writing?
I live in – and love – the Klein Karoo deeply. It is the area where my fiction and my real life overlap.

The Tannie Maria mysteries are chock-full of cooking and food. Are you as much a foodie as is she?

What is your favourite recipe featured in the series so far?
Venus cake – Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic.

Biker culture seems to play a big part in the new book (I see that the launch has “biker leathers” as its dress code). Is that a new development for you?
A new major character – Zabanguni (strong black no sugar) is an investigative journalist who rides a black Ducati. We also have a gang of women on Harleys who feature.

The Tannie Maria books have a good worldwide readership. How do you go about portraying Tannie Maria’s specific and idiosyncratic culture for the sake of non-SA readers? Is this just something that happens organically?
Although Tannie M is distinctly South African, I think there is something archetypal in her that resonates with many humans.

If there was one big topic, one big issue, that you could explore through Tannie Maria – or indeed any future novels – what would it be?

How to open our hearts, and live to our best potential.

Who are your favourite local authors at the moment?
Deon Meyer, Rebecca Davies (sp?), Maire Fischer, Karin Brynard, Andrew Brown, Paige Nick, Don Pinnock, Finuala Dowling’s poetry.

What will be next for Tannie Maria?
The next book will be a return to the more standard set of Ladismith characters and location. Not sharing the details just yet. When I’m in the process of writing the words are like wet clay. I only like to share them once they’ve hardened a little.

Thank you for your time!
Thank you for your interest and support.