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Margie Orford

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Why Intimate Crimes Transfix the Popular Imagination

This is going to be my last column for a while. My next book has a deadline gun at my head. So, like most people facing an immovable force, I am giving in. I am also conducting an experiment on myself; for the first time in my life I am going to focus on one thing, and one thing only. So, I have parcelled out all the other work I do and handed it over.

The forced passing of the “secrecy” Bill – it would be ridiculous if it was not so frightening – briefly derailed my ambition to be a wallflower. However, South Africa’s grasping rulers have underestimated how pissed off the electorate is with them. Those in power, sheltered from reality as they are, seem to have swallowed their own Orwellian doublespeak and that South Africans have experience at fighting injustice, mendacity and state crime. They will get their come-uppance as people who do wrong sometimes do.

This is one of the things I have learnt during the time that crime has absorbed my writing attention and these column inches for some time. And this column has taken me places. A year ago I was sailing with my family off the Tanzanian coast. We had planned a route further out into the beckoning, blue Indian Ocean, but because of raiding Somali pirates we kept inside the reef that protects Zanzibar. It was fabulous, but the limitations caused by the collapse of the Somali state irked me, although I see that Wilbur Smith – never a man to miss a moment – already dashed a book out about piracy, a distressed, blonde damsel rescued by manly men in khaki.


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