A pretend boyfriend, a murder and a lost heir—just another day for the Adair family… What harm could there be pretending a sexy FBI agent is her boyfriend?
It was interesting introduction by Wilmot James, one of the authors at their book launch at Spier. Grape is a collection of stories about people in the wine industry since the arrival of the Dutch over 350 years ago, to current times. Wilmot was attending a conferance at Harvard, and during a break, entered their bookshop where he saw the book The history of the Potato.
Jeanne Viall spent hours interviewing a collection of historians, vineyard owners, wine industry opinion leaders, and vineyard workers, to bring alive the history of wine at the Cape. Grape also raises the question as to whether we should be dedicating so much of our land at the Cape to growing wine grapes.
Wilmot closed the launch with the main four challenges he felt the wine industry will face over the coming years. At Marius Barnard’s book launch to the Cape Town Press Club, I was delighted to find myself being entertained by this eloquent speaker who orchestrated constant chuckles of laughter from his audience.
The idea to do write his life story was born over many klippies and coke with friends and after several attempts at sourcing a compatible writer, Barnard began to share his intimate life details with Simon Norval. To an audience of journalists, Barnard held nothing back when he stated that the media was responsible for the making and destruction of his elder brother Chris Barnard.
While this is a personal account of Barnard’s career as a GP in Zimbabwe, cardiology at Groote Schuur hospital and his charity work in Romania, it is also gives the new generation an insight into practicing medicine during the aparteid era. Finally I admired his willingness to share with us the intimate challenges he faced over the last few years during cancer treatments. Simon Norval has done an excellent job shaping Marius Barnard’s words and this is an enjoyable read for anybody interested in medical history in South Africa. Even though I only read non-fiction I could not resist the purchase of the new James Bond novel Carte Blanche by Jeffrey Deaver – especially as James Bond is known for visiting exotic locations and this time the author chose Cape Town. In this latest novel, the journey of James Bond is a fast-moving spy thriller, travelling through Serbia, England, Dubai and Cape Town. We owe the birth of James Bond to the initial author Ian Fleming who started his writing career as a journalist before entering the world of novels. Sadly Fleming died of a heart attack 1964 and never saw the huge success created by James Bond.
Jeffery Deaver used to be a fan of James Bond so was thrilled by the approach from the Ian Fleming estate in 2004, to continue with the James Bond novels. During this exciting spy thriller (which I couldn’t put down), Bond drinks Rustenberg Peter Barlow Cabernet 2005, Stellenbosch Pinotage, Three Cape Ladies (from Warwick wine Estate), the well-known Constantia dessert wine (Vin de Constance), and Graham Beck Cuvee Clive.
He traveled through the Bo-Kaap, city bowl and townships and even gets to dine on traditional bobotie and sambal sauce.
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann is one of those cases where most people will remember where they were when they first switched on the news May 4, 2007, and saw the tearful appeal for her return. Nobody expected the international media attention this case received or celebrities like David Beckham to get involved a week later with an appeal for information. Four years on and Kate McCann has released her book in the hope of regaining awareness for her missing daughter.

Having been glued to Sky news for weeks after Madeleine’s disappearance, I was familiar with much of the content.
I sympathised with the Portuguese police, even though they received much criticism over the way they handled the case. Kate was open in the book about Goncarlo Amaral, the investigation co-ordinator, who released his own book first, giving his personal conclusions that Madeleine McCann was dead. As time moves along and everybody gets on with their lives, it is a struggle for the McCanns to keep the search for their daughter ignited. Killing Kebble, portrays the story of South Africa’s gangland, corruption, mobsters, assassins and everything associated with the underworld. One could be forgiven for thinking that you are reading fiction, a story of business leaders associating with gangsters, but the harsh reality is that Killing Kebble is a non-fiction book. Mandy Wiener is a reporter for Eyewitness News who spent endless hours in courtrooms and followed up on leads, sometimes exposing herself to dangerous encounters.
The focus story is about Brett Kebble, the mining magnate, who was found shot dead in September 2005, in Johannesburg. Throughout the book Wiener readily exchanges text messages with gangsters and boasted about setting up a twitter account for Glen Agliotti, demonstrating how comfortable she was in their company. Mandy Wiener has not yet turned 30 years old and brings a breath of fresh air to journalism. The Book Lounge hosted the launch of My friend the mercenary, by James Brabazon, the title referring to Brabazon’s friendship with Nick du Toit. The story of the coup attracted a lot of attention to the book, but the majority of the work is about Brazabon’s commission to film the rebels in Liberia. After three weeks, Brabazon was informed there was no more money left to continue the commission. During the book launch, John Maytham from Cape Talk radio commented how he found it difficult not to become judgemental about Brabazon while reading, an observation I found strange until I read the book myself. Brabazon was descriptive during the action scenes and begged the question as to when a journalist stops observing and becomes a participant in the war. If you want to know what the war is like in Liberia and the role of mercenarys, this is the book for you. On March 16, 2005, student Inge Lotz was bludgeoned to death in her flat in Stellenbosch.  Three months later, her boyfriend, Fred van der Vyver was charged with her murder.
The book reads as a gripping drama until you reach the areas where Altbeker explains in detail the issues around analysing evidence and you need to concentrate to get a full understanding of what he writes. Fred van der Vyver was found not guility and is about to pursue a case against the police.  In the meantime, the case continues in search for further evidence to bring to justice the tragic murder of Inge Lotz. I recommend reading this book as Altbeker presents all the evidence in a balanced manner leaving the reader to decide for themselves what may have happened that night. Lynn Carneson launched her book Red in the Rainbow at the Book Lounge, Roeland st, in converstion with owner Mervyn Sloeman.
Lynn Carneson is the daughter of Fred and Sarah Carneson, well-known activists for the communist party and supporters of the ANC during the 1950?s, 60?s and 70?s.  As we near the end of the 15th year of democracy we see the launch of many personal accounts of ‘the struggle’, and what sets this book apart, is that it is the moving account of being a child of activists. Lynn was the eldest of three children and her story relays the challenges they encountered during their daily lives and the impact of having these famous parents as they entered adulthood.

Imagine being banned from having any school friends, wondering if every knock at the door is the police coming to arrest your parents, and hearing stories about your father being tortured.
During her research,  Lynn found personal letters, written by Fred in prison to Sarah – many of which Sarah had never received.  Some of the letters have been reprinted in this moving drama, which portrays Fred as a human being who loved his wife but didn’t express this every often.
Ronnie Kasrils has written a dramatic account of his late wife, Eleanor Kasrils, and her role in the struggle to end aparteid.  The Unlikely Secret Agent is an appropiate title for this petite, shrinking lady who worked in her mother’s bookshop in Durban, and lead a double life, acting as a courier service for the communist party. There is a detailed narrative recalling her interrogation by the Special Branch and subsequent confinement in the Fort Napier mental institution due to her hunger strike in protest of her treatment during the 90 day detention act.  Eleanor managed to secure some sanity at Fort Napier by befriending some alcoholics and prepare for her escape.
Author and husband, Ronnie Kasrils went on to become South Africa’s Minster of Intelligence and wrote his autobiography, Armed and Dangerous. I enjoyed reading this book and would have been interested to read some thoughts from her daughter.
Outspoken in his book, and outspoken at his book launch at Kalk Bay books, David Klatzow shared a selection of his stories included in his book. The book is a blend of serious well-known cases such as the Helderberg plane crash and the death of Brett Kebble, alongside the humourous story of a man’s attempt to sue Coke claiming he had accidently eaten a mouse while drinking their can of drink!
Klatzow felt that South Africa required more training in forsenics and related the importance of detail and honesty. Supporting actor Scott Kolk was elevated to playing the title role in this Graustarkian spy thriller, serialized in 12 chapters by Universal.
Plenty, socialite Landry Adair discovers when she must work with Derek Winchester to locate the missing Adair heir. It doesn’t offer solutions, but raises sensitive issues which still need to be addressed. Reportedly based on characters created by Dashiell Hammett, the serial featured an American secret agent assigned to recover the crown jewels of Belgravia. Pretend hugs, pretend kisses, and before she knows it, their sizzling attraction is dangerously real! Agent X-9 is assisted in his quest by Shara Graustark (Jean Rogers) and opposed by a master criminal known as Blackstone (Henry Brandon). But as Landry and Derek race to uncover family secrets—possibly her father's murderer—more danger arises.
A Universal contract player, Scott Kolk had played Leer, one of the young German soldiers-turned-cannon fodder in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), but stardom had eluded him. Only then does Landry realize she's more warrior than society princess…and she'll fight tooth and nail for a real chance at love! Leading lady Jean Rogers, on the other hand, had played Dale Arden in Flash Gordon (1936) and has become a serial icon. Universal used the title Secret Agent X-9 again in 1945, but with a different setting and plot.

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