Crime Writers in the IHT

The International Herald Tribune’s culture pages are primarily devoted to crime fiction today. First there’s John Burdett talking up his Sonchai Jitpleetcheep novels and how they fit into contemporary Bangkok society:

Modern Bangkok is many things to many people. Tourists these days

are likely to come for the shopping, the fabulous restaurants, the $5

foot massages and the nearby golf courses and beaches.

But Burdett keeps a tight focus on Bangkok as sin city, a “lusty,

clawing” metropolis of exotic bar girls, shady jade dealers,

Viagra-popping Western johns and corrupt cops.

Burdett explores a side of Thai society that has long fascinated

Westerners: the apparent willingness of large numbers of women here to

sell their bodies without obvious shame – and in a country where

brothels are illegal, the willingness of the police, the government and

the society as a whole to look the other way.

Then there’s Carlo Lucarelli explaining why his books and career stem from Italy’s unsolved crimes and their sinister underpinnings:

So many cases remain unsolved, Lucarelli suggested, because for

decades Italian institutions were instrumental in hushing up the truth,

in part because Italy’s role in the Cold War period as a bulwark

against communism may have justified the coverups in the minds of some.

The truth could have upset the global order. “Italy was in a particular

situation,” he said.

Conspiracy theories stretch both ways, he has been challenged: How

else to explain that his 1993 book “Falange Armata,” about a gang of

murderous cops that had been terrorizing the Bologna countryside for

years, was published the year before investigators arrested a gang of

murderous cops that had been terrorizing the Bologna countryside for


“I was as surprised as anyone else,” he said. “All I said in the book was that two plus two makes four.”

But leaps in logic sometimes appear in fiction before real life…