Daddy’s Girl by Margie Orford

I read this brilliant book the other day, and I published the review on – but it really as a good book so I thought I would put the review up on my blog as well.

The main character in Daddy’s Girl is Dr. Clare Hart.  Clare is a profiler, who consults when police needing to understand the motives and characteristics of criminals in order to identify patterns of behavior.  She assists in narrowing the search in finding either the perpetrators or the victims before they turn up dead. Her specialty is crimes that involve children.

Clare is approached by the very intense character of Captain Riedwaan Faizal who is with Cape Town’s elite Gang Unit – he is a man in a desperate situation.  He is tough and streetwise — his marriage has crumbled and his wife intends to emigrate to Canada with their only daughter.    All these personal issues become pertinent to the weaving of this story.

Clare quickly becomes involved with him and assisting to solve his ordeal. (I do not want to give away too much of the story.)

Cape Town comes to life as it’s own character in this book.  It is messy, colourful and feels dangerously familiar.  The streets and descriptions of the locations of the crimes are familiar and if you have lived or ever lived in Cape Town, adds an authenticity to the story and the characters.

The story is fast paced, it is ugly and grim.  If you have children it will strike at your core.  The backdrop is the poverty on the Cape Flats, the 27’s and powerful men who cross the line between politics and crime syndicates, and control the city.

Your heart cries for the young girls, their families and the crushing poverty that forces them to make some dire decisions.

I cursed this story in the beginning.  I was reading 3 – 4 pages a day, and would keep putting it down, as it was just too much to bear.  I realized that this book is a bit like a plaster – you need to brace yourself and just get through the pain quickly.

This book is engrossing – it is disturbing, sobering, and makes you aware that there are things happening on your doorstep that we do not realise, and would rather not know about.  As dark and frightening as Daddy’s Girl is, you cannot deny how good it is, and what a brilliant author Margie Orford has proven herself to be.

A gripping, soul-exhausting but totally brilliant read!

Leave a comment


  1. ttcnot2easy

     /  June 10, 2010

    I’ve had my eye on this book for a while.. you’ve just inspired me to get my A into G to buy it.

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 10, 2010

      I read all three of them – Daddy’s Girl, Like Clockwork and then Blood Rose (that is the order of the books – though it does not tell you anywhere, but preferable to read them in that order.)

      Really good, but the backdrop of the children is very disturbing, and the familiarity of it all is even more chilling. Good author though – I do not reach much in the way of South African authors.

  2. Thanks – will put it on the “to read” list.


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