I Have An Admission To Make
I was given a free digital copy of this book by the publisher.
However, very happily, willingly, and bravely, but with total confidence in the book and its author, the
publisher agreed to my terms. These emphasised I’m my own koala, and I'll write whatever I bloody well want.
Good on yer, Crime Wave Press, that takes guts, and I approve.
Unputdownability Quotient: 9/10
You'll be VERY strongly tempted to read A Straits Settlement as quickly as possible - not because you want to finish it quickly, you won't, but because you'll want to know what happens to these very likeable characters. Sadly, despite wanting to spend more time with them, you'll find it necessary to read quickly and constantly. Oh, and I know "likeable" will be an offput for some of you. Your loss, I'm afraid.
“Nastiness” Factor: 0/10
While far from being a "cosy", unnecessary violence, blood & gore, or explicit sex, and particularly the ghastly combination of the three is not present. Bad luck for those who love Eric Lustbader novels, but good for those who don't want to read all about some author's violent sex fantasies.
Key Storyline Crimes
# among the Indians, and
# between the British and the Indians.
The protagonist is Chris Le Fanu, the Acting Inspector-General of Police in Madras.
Le Fanu, who prefers LF, has a couple of characteristics that help to humanise him from being "too good to be true":
LF’s attitude towards humanity is pretty much summed up here:
“He [LF] still resented the fact that an Indian constable opened the rear door of the car and saluted his entrance. That protocol deliberately separated ruler from ruled.” (A Straits Settlement, p 26 – not that page numbers mean anything when taken from an e-book!).
In fact, he could almost be me. Well ... almost. Oh, all right, he's nothing like me in almost every respect except for his social and political views.
Why Madras and Penang? And why the 1920s?
Type, Time & Place
Really good points. There are quite a few, but just a couple off the top of my mind:
All right, so I liked the book. But, did I have any quibbles? Yes, a couple.
Were they important? No.
Did they distract from my reading or enjoyment of the book? No.
Well, what were they? No.
Eh? No. I’m not going into any detail about stuff that is unimportant.
If any of my quibbles were important I would tell you, but I have no intention of poking an author or a publisher in the eye for someone else's out-of-place interest, or from any desire to big note myself at their expense.
The point is, I don't believe there are any negatives that will impinge on your enjoyment of what is, after all, a good book.
If you do come across any problems, you might consider whether, after all, they're actually important, or the fault is yours for getting peeved about something that's unimportant. And, of course, it would never be my fault ... ummm ... because I'm not a rotten reviewer (!?).
Sir Charles Whitney
Major Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon GCSI GCMG GCIE GBE PC