Luckily I recently discovered (starting initially with John Burdett's Bangkok 8, thanks to the well-read Peter Kavanaugh, author of The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times) some writers who have abandoned the American gumshoes and the British detective inspectors, in favour of wise and amusing Asian detectives, solving mysteries wrapped in enigmas and uknowns, in Bangkok, Tibet, Vientiane, Shanghai, Hong Kong, etc.
Most of these quick-thinking men are living by their considerable wits to out-manoeuvre not just crooks and murderers, but their corrupt police forces or tyrannical political regimes:
- John Burdett’s SONNCHAI JITPLEECHEEP series.
- Robert van Gulik’s JUDGE DEE series. (Based on the
historical figure Ti Jen-chieh
- Qiu Xiaolong’s INSPECTOR CHEN series featuring Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau and set in relatively contemporary times.
It's refreshing to be off the mean streets of L.A. and New York and even away from the blazing fires of the English "cozies" and into the unfamiliar -- at once hilarious and a split second later terrifying --landscapes of these murder- and mystery-solving gentlemen who conjure and contort to avoid prison or re-internment themselves.
-- Margo Lamont