“Disneyland with the death penalty.” An apt description of Singapore. We wrap up Needham’s Inspector Tay with the fourth in the series, The Dead American. Inspector Tay simply cannot stay out of trouble. He is put on suspension at the end of the third novel for doing his job just a little too well.
Now on suspension, he is approached by a beautiful American woman who offers him some under-the-table work to investigate a dead American whose body is found in Singapore. The beautiful woman also ends up dead but I’ll leave the details up to you to read it for yourself. Note that Mr. Tay never gets to have a successful relationship with any of the women he meets. They typically wind up murdered and the other lady I can think of he walks away from the relationship due to his own lack of social graces.
His supervisors offer to bring Tay back on the force but with a condition he is not willing to meet. Tay is always bumping heads with his superiors and Singaporean society yet he never takes any action to change his situation. He is bright and has lots of money in the bank but he seems to lack the agency to pursue a better life.
Needham drops great observations on Singaporean society and always contrasts it with American/Western values. Perfect for an American living in Asia.
All in all, a great finale to this series.
More books, please!