Mysteries from across the Pacific

James Church – Church is a pseudonym for a Western Intelligence officer that was stationed in Asia for a long time.  He states that he met an Inspector O. (his series character) everywhere he was stationed. Start with A Corpse in the Koryo. Inspector O. is in Korea where political concerns often conflict with the inspector’s investigations.

Colin Cotterill – Dr. Siri Paiboun, the Laos State Pathologist is 70 years old when the series starts. This funny, very enjoyable series is written by a British expatriate and takes place in the 1970’s. Get to know the charming characters, Nurse Dtui and Geung the lab assistant, from the beginning with The Coroner’s Lunch.

Qiu Xiaolong – P.D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh isn’t the only policeman who is a poet.  Thoughtful Shanghi Inspector Chen Cao is one as well. First in the series is Death of a Red Heroine.  The Inspector is up against some of the same things Inspector O. was.

Nury Vittachi – I mentioned him in ‘Not Your Usual Mystery’.  C.F. Wong is the Feng Shui detective in Singapore and later Shanghai.  His assistant is a young Aussie teenager.  The cultural gap is made even worse by age and language differences.  Yes, they both speak English, but it isn’t the same English.  The series is fun.  The first book is The Feng Shui Detective.

I. J. Parker – My favorite mysteries from Japan are historical in nature.  Parker writes about 11th century Japan and his character is Sugawara Akitada.  The Dragon Scroll is not the first book in the series, but it takes place first, chronologically.

Laura Joh Rowland – Sano Ichiro is a Samuri in Edo, Japan, in the 17th century.  He is also a Police Commander.  In the first book, Shinju, Ichiro is told to close a case, which he believes to be a double murder, without an investigation.  It sounds like he has the same problem as our other inspectors.

Arthur Upfield – Australia has the wonderful “Bony” (short for Bonaparte) who is a half-caste Aborigine. He is also the policeman to have on the case when trouble visits the outback. The first book, The Lure of the Bush, was written in the 1930’s.  Upfield continued writing through 1966. The series is as fresh and enjoyable now as it was then.  This is one of my personal favorite series.

Jon Cleary – July 19, 2010, Cleary passed away at age 92. This Australian writer was very prolific and his most popular books feature the detective Scobie Malone. See if you can start at the beginning with The High Commissioner.   If you can’t find the book, try the movie.  It was made in 1968 and starred Rod Taylor, Christopher Plummer and Lilli Palmer.

Peter Corris – Corris has been called a national treasure in Australia. His character Cliff Hardy says, “Not for the first time I realized that a hundred and twenty a day wasn’t a good rate for getting dead but there was no point in upping the fees. A thousand a day is still a poor deal.” You gotta love this guy. The Dying Trade is the first in the series.

Published in: on March 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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