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Murder, Witchcraft and the Killing of Wildlife (Hardback)

Memoirs of a Police Officer in the Heart of Africa

True Crime Memoirs

By Stephen R. Matthews
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 44
ISBN: 9781526764072
Published: 30th November 2019

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This was the time of the Belgian Congo Debacle, where ethnic cleansing coincided with Stephen R. Matthew's first police posting near the Northern Rhodesia border with the Congo. During this time, and at just 21 years old, Stephen was knifed, ambushed, stoned, wounded by bow and arrow and shotgun and had his hand broken several times.

Action-packed, unadulterated stories of those frantic and dangerous years are meticulously detailed here. This young police inspector found himself confronted by fearsome actions and events well beyond his understanding, while serving in the elite police force in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He found that the police were fighting on two fronts; trying to protect the vulnerable citizens of the country whilst at the same time endeavouring to stop the slaughter of wildlife.

A stand-out, unique and comprehensive book, Murder, Witchcraft and the Killing of Wildlife depicts dramatic accounts of witchcraft-murders and cannibalism in all its repugnant forms. Highly dangerous solo investigations carried out by Stephen are detailed, including incidents of black magic, kidnapping, arson, gun-running and people trafficking.

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.

NetGalley, Jennifer Harney

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.

NetGalley, Richelle Rodarte

About Stephen R. Matthews

Stephen was born in Guernsey shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and later illegally deported to concentration camps in Germany with his family. After these horrendous events, Stephen and his family returned to Guernsey where he was educated at Elizabeth College.


Stephen went on to join the Northern Rhodesia Police in 1959, with the express purpose of helping to Africanise the force prior to independence. His investigations took him over a great deal of the country, investigating horrendous and dangerous crimes, and securing more than 125 convictions for wildlife poaching.


The recipient of a plethora of awards and commendations, Stephen married Dr Xue Fen Matthews and now spends much of his time living in both France and China.

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