BOOKS

Extract from Recipes for Love and Murder

CHAPTER ONE

Isn’t life funny? You know, how one thing leads to another in a way you just don’t expect.

That Sunday morning, I was in my kitchen stirring my apricot jam in the cast-iron pot. It was another dry summer’s day in the Klein Karoo, and I was glad for the breeze coming in the window.

‘You smell lovely,’ I told the appelkooskonfyt.

When I call it apricot ‘jam’ it sounds like something in a tin from the Spar, but when it’s konfyt, you know it’s made in a kitchen. My mother was Afrikaans and my father was English and the languages are mixed up inside me. I taste in Afrikaans and argue in English, but if I swear I go back to Afrikaans again.

The apricot konfyt was just coming right, getting thick and clear, when I heard the car. I added some apricot kernels and a stick of cinnamon to the jam; I did not know that the car was bringing the first ingredient in a recipe for love and murder.

But maybe life is like a river that can’t be stopped, always winding towards or away from death and love. Back and forth. Still, even though life moves like that river, lots of people go their whole lives without swimming. I thought I was one of those people.