I’m a firm believer in trying out ‘new-to-me’ authors. That’s the way we learn about excellent work that maybe doesn’t get worldwide media attention. So I’m very happy that Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is continuing her Best New-To-Me Crime Fiction Authors meme. For me, choosing an author to profile has been quite difficult this time, as I’ve ‘met’ some truly talented men and women. My choice, by a narrow margin, is Melbourne author Angela Savage.
Savage has worked for years in the field of sexual health, family planning and HIV prevention. She continues to lead a group of community-based organisations in Melbourne, where she lives with her partner fellow crime writer Andrew Nette and their daughter. However, she’s done a lot of travelling too, especially to Southeast Asia, the site of her novels Behind the Night Bazaar and The Half-Child.
Behind the Night Bazaar is the story of Australian PI Jayne Keeney, who lives and works in Bangkok. After a difficult case she decides to visit her dear friend Didier ‘Didi’ de Montpasse, who lives in Chiang Mai. She’s looking forward to a few days of rest, spending time with her friend and arguing about crime fiction books. Then on the first night of her visit Didi’s partner Nou is brutally murdered outside a club. The next morning Didi himself is killed. The official police explanation is that he murdered Nou and was killed while resisting arrest and threatening the police. But Keeney is sure that’s not what happened. So she begins to ask questions and soon learns that no-one wants her to take an interest in the case. It’s made clear to her that the best thing she can do is leave it alone. But that’s not Keeney’s way, so she continues to try to find out the truth and clear Didi’s name. Along the way she meets Australian Federal Police officer Mark d’Angelo, who’s investigating Australian citizens who are involved in the Thailand sex trade and the child trafficking trade. Keeney discovers that Nou’s and Didi’s murders are related to that trade and in the end, she finds out why and by whom the two men were killed. In the second Jane Keeney novel The Half-Child, Keeney takes the case of Jim Delbeck, an Australian businessman who wants Keeney to find out the truth about his daughter Maryanne’s death. She is said to have committed suicide, but Delbeck doesn’t believe it. Keeney takes the case and travels to Pattaya, where Maryanne Delbeck died. She goes undercover at the orphanage where the victim volunteered and unearths a secret that convinces her that Maryanne Delbeck was murdered. I’ll say it now: I really like Jayne Keeney. She’s strong but human enough to be vulnerable. She’s smart and quick-witted, but not entirely reckless. She has a sense of humour, too.
Savage has also written several short stories, among them The Teardrop Tattoos, which is the story of a woman who’s recently been released from prison and given housing not far from a childcare centre. Her only companion is her pit bull Sully, to whom she is devoted. When a complaint is made against her about her dog, she knows she will have to give Sully up because Sully is a restricted breed. That’s when she decides to take revenge against the woman who made the complaint. As the story unfolds, we learn that things are not exactly as they seem. We follow along as the narrator makes plans, finds out about the woman who made the complaint and plots what she will do. We also find out that the narrator’s story is not as simple as it seems.
Want to know more about Angela Savage? Here’s how:
Want to know more about Jayne Keeney? Here’s how:
Oh, and here’s more information about The Teardrop Tattoos .
*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a Richard Rogers/Oscar Hammerstein II song.