The obvious pitfall in locating mystery novel narratives in Southeast Asia is that one can all too easily succumb to the temptations identified in Edward Said’s book ‘Orientalism’ (1978). These revolve around a tendency for Western writers and artists to patronise Eastern cultures by depicting them (expressly or implicitly) as exotic but backward, stagnant and corrupt. Such portrayals often included scenes involving hookah salons, harems, hill tribes, howdahs and other similarly quaint ...


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