Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review of Behind the Night Bazaar by Angela Savage (Text Publishing, 2006)

Thirty-something Jayne Keeney is an Australian who has somehow drifted into working as a PI in Bangkok.  Mostly she spends her time tracking unfaithful partners, but when one of them attacks her she ends up heading north to Chiang Mai to visit her closest friend, Didier.  He’s a Canadian academic and safe sex advocate who works amongst the gay community, lives with his Thai boyfriend, and shares Jayne’s passion for crime fiction.  Shortly after she arrives Didier is accused of murdering his boyfriend and is then shot whilst ‘trying to escape’ the police.  Grief-stricken Jayne employs her investigative talents to try and determine who the real killer and clear her friend’s name.  Lieutenant Colonel Ratratarn of the Chiang Mai police has a very different script however, and one thing Jayne has learnt living in the country is that it’s never wise to tackle the police unless you’re prepared to risk everything for truth.   

It took me a little bit of time to get into Behind the Night Bazaar, but once I did the pages kept turning.  Jayne Keeney is a little bit lost, somewhat restless, a tad confused about her feelings towards her gay friend, Didier, and occupies a kind of insider-outsider position in her adopted country, able to speak the language fluently and act in culturally appropriate ways but nevertheless a farang (foreigner).  She’s also head strong, resourceful and happy to take risks.  Her counterpart, the corrupt and scheming Lieutenant Colonel Ratratarn has the same latter qualities, making for an interesting battle of wits.  The plot is nicely constructed, with a good build up of tension  and a very nice twist towards the end.  Savage nicely conveys the culture and place, the everyday life and corruption, and the interplay between locals and foreigners.  A tale that gets progressively more engaging as it unfolds and an enjoyable sojourn into a different culture.


1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

I like this series very much, Rob, and I'm glad you enjoyed the first entry in it.