Lizzy Chandler's Reviews > The Half-Child

The Half-Child by Angela Savage
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Feb 19, 12

really liked it
Read in February, 2012

I haven't read any Angela Savage books before, and would have liked to start with the first of the Jayne Keeney series, had I known it was part of a series, rather than join this private detective's adventures after they'd begun. Right from the start, however, I enjoyed the book's Thai setting and was intrigued by the mystery presented. As I read on, I discovered more and more to like.

In the past, I've been a fan of both conspiracy stories and detective stories for light reading, but not usually ones with the degree of humour I found in Savage's story. (For example, Alexander McCall Smith's The Number One Ladies Detective Agency Volume 6 has never appealed to me to pick up and read, even though I enjoyed hearing excerpts on the radio.) As I read on with The Half-Child, I warmed to its humour, especially as it plays out in Savage's depiction of the protagonist Jayne's relationship with her Indian offsider, Rajiv. While Savage's insights into the seedier side of touristic Thailand give rise to indulgent laughter, however, there is also a fair degree of pathos as the tragic plight of some of these sex workers is touched on. Flashes of political comment and insights in regard to inter-race relations, inter-country adoptions, and the attitude of Australians to Asian immigrants in the 1990s, are also woven through the narrative. The story held my interest till the end, the twists, as well as the characters and their relationships, avoiding cliche.

I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy tom-boy Aussie female 'anti-hero' protagonists, quirky humour and exotic settings, and who don't mind their detective stories giving them something more to think about than your average mystery.
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