June 26, 2016 Alex Eliseev

From Joburg to a tiny island in the English Channel

“Unputdownable, riveting, utterly fascinating. My book of the year. By far.”

– Deon Meyer

“This book has become a South African classic.” 

– Jenny Crwys Williams

May and June have flown by. Both months have been jam-packed with book-related events, following the launch of Cold Case Confession. So far, the feedback has been extremely generous and I am humbled by it. I never expected Betty Ketani’s story to travel so far, but I have heard from readers across South Africa and beyond. For example, I received this photograph from Norwin Lederer, a South African who read #ColdCaseConfession while working on a tiny island off the coast of Normandy, France. There is now a copy of the book at Hotel de France in Jersey.


(Click image to enlarge)

Norwin and I corresponded briefly and I am inspired by his story. His son, who recently turned eight, is fighting an extremely rare congenital condition called AVM and has undergone 27 surgeries since birth. You can read more about it here. Thank you Norwin for the kind words you penned in the book and for taking the time to tell me about your life.

I received an email from a reader in Namibia, curious about the motive in the Ketani case and also a phone call from my primary school principal (now retired), who phoned the EWN newsroom to find me. On social media, I’ve received feedback from readers in London and other European countries. One reader pointed out some details about World War II, which is mentioned in passing in the chapters on the DNA tests, which were conducted in Bosnia. I have had a friendly argument with a judge who was facilitating a talk I was doing in Franschhoek and a rather personal discussion about my family’s past with Deon Meyer, who interviewed me at Kingsmead Book Fair. I have done talks everywhere from a grand synagogue to a classroom full of cadets trying to break into the world of journalism.

Cold Case Confession remains on some of the best seller lists across the country and was picked by Exclusive Books for its Homebru list of 2016.


It’s still early days in terms of reviews, but here are a few links you may find interesting:

Daily Maverick: ‘Cold Case’ Alex: Finding the Truth Among Angels and Demons:


Business Day: Her killers are in prison, but ‘questions remain’ about Betty Ketani’s death:


Carte Blanche: Bringing Betty Home:



And here are some emails / Amazon reviews:


“I have just finished reading “Cold Case Confession”. Being an avid reader all my life, I have in the last couple of years struggled to focus on reading anything much, largely due to work-related time constraints and demands. Your book has had me in its grip for the last 4 days (which is how long it took me to read it!) and I am lost for words – something which those who know me would fine hard to believe! Not only was I stunned at the way in which the events played out, but am full of admiration for the way in which you described and relayed those events and the people involved in them. I have been left with so many mixed emotions; triumph that a conviction was achieved, sadness that Betty’s family will never be able to bring her body home – yet grateful they are at least able to find some closure after all these years, restoration of some faith in our justice system (ja ok, not a complete restoration of faith!) and heck, at the end of it all I even found myself feeling a little bit sorry for Conway Brown. You brought the human element into the narrative, without becoming sentimental or allowing your own opinions of personalities to overshadow it. Congratulations. I always admired you as a journalist, but you have shown us your true talent, and I wish you nothing but the best.” – Amanda

“Cold Case is one of the most riveting books that I have read. It is very well written and easy to read. The book took me a week to read in my spare time. The only books that I have read so quickly are Power of One and Its not about The Bike. Looking forward to reading your next book.” – Mark

“Congratulations for an excellent book that reveals so much more than meets the eye!” – Anita

“What a book. Once started I could not stop reading. Fascinating and one of the best books I ever read. Thanks Alex. I know how much it takes to write a book like this.” – Wilson

“Captivating from the first page. The detail on each character makes you feel you know them personally. Best book I have read in a really long time.” – Amazon Customer

“A compelling and excellent book. I could not put it down. Well presented and well written. It is definitely worth reading!!” – Simone


Follow the conversation and keep up to speed on my latest events on Twitter: @alexeliseev / #ColdCaseConfession 

Tagged: , , , , , ,