Ashling McCarthy 'The Leopard in the Lala'

Local author Ashling McCarthy’s latest novel ‘The Leopard in the Lala’ celebrates local pride. Image: Supplied

Local author raises awareness for conservation in newest novel

From South African author Ashling McCarthy comes the long-awaited second book in her bestselling ‘The Poacher’s Moon Crime Series’.

Ashling McCarthy 'The Leopard in the Lala'

Local author Ashling McCarthy’s latest novel ‘The Leopard in the Lala’ celebrates local pride. Image: Supplied

The bestselling author of the novel Down at the Jika Jika Tavern, the first book in her The Poacher’s Moon Crime Series, has finally released her long-awaited second novel. Ashling McCarthy’s second instalment of her widely loved young adult series, The Leopard in the Lala, is out now!

Jam-packed with adventure, mystery and beautiful South African pride, this is not a novel to miss! Readers pick up right where they left off with the enigmatic character of Nonhle Ngubane in the first book and the excitement begins right away.


At the centre of McCarthy’s work is a strong passion for young minds and nature conservation. Her stories always place a clear focus on strong characters, role models and the celebration and protection of nature.

My favourite part of this book series is McCarthy’s focus on the South African identity. Her characters, their stories and the plot are all immersed in local flavour, making The Leopard in the Lala a joy to read.

Her novels are perfect gifts for those budding bookworms in your life but they can also be enjoyed by adults.

Local author Ashling McCarthy’s first two books in her ‘The Poacher’s Moon Crime Series’. Image: Supplied.

According to her website, McCarthy says that she never intended The Poacher’s Moon Crime Series to be a series. She states “The first book, Down at Jika Jika Tavern, took eight years to write. I fitted writing in and around my life and my ‘real’ work. But then readers began demanding answers to very important questions”.

I realised that the characters were no longer just mine; they were alive and well in the minds and hearts of readers”.

Author Ashling McCarthy on her latest novel “The Leopard in the Lala”.

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It’s been a year since Nonhle Ngubane was held hostage on a windswept mountain by two crooked and murderous men. She’s settled into her new job at The Last Outpost Lodge and her greatest concern is whether the man she loves, feels the same way. While she contemplates matters of the heart, the rhino poaching war continues to escalate and kingpins are partnering with corrupt judges.

Her friends, Thomas McKenzie and Senzo Mdletshe, find themselves fighting a daily battle to keep the poachers at bay. Then Nonhle discovers that leopard populations are also under attack. While their skins are worn with pride as a symbol of power and royalty across the African continent, farmers destroy leopards that threaten their livestock, and big game hunters offer illegal hunts to paying guests.

When a university acquaintance unexpectedly arrives in Zululand, Nonhle finds herself involved in a case that brings the past roaring back into her present.


Author Ashling McCarthy. Image from her website.

In 2010, Ashling McCarthy founded an education non-profit based in a rural community in Zululand. It provides children and youth with opportunities to expand their horizons, through relevant and creative programs, encouraging problem-solving and personal accountability.

McCarthy offers courses to high school learners (aimed at Grade 10 -12) where she discusses the power of using creative writing to explore social challenges and also provides tips and advice for aspiring writers. She lives in the coastal town of Durban with her husband and five rescue spaniels.

The Leopard in the Lala is published by Blue Weaver and is available for purchase from Ashling McCarthy’s website.