The Dying Beach by Angela Savage

Australian-born private investigator Jayne Keeney now lives in Thailand and is enjoying a holiday in Krabi, along with her business partner and lover, Rajiv. The country continues to seduce her with scenic tours and locations, until she requests another trip with her favourite guide, the affable Pla, only to discover that Pla’s lifeless body was discovered floating in a cave that morning.

The cause of death is found to be drowning, but Jayne, ever enmeshed in the lives of others, is suspicious. It’s a hunch that gets some traction when someone else close to Pla is summarily killed, and thus Jayne, another crime protagonist doomed to never enjoy a vacation, rolls up her sleeves and dives into Pla’s past.

The Dying Beach is a detective story rich in Thai culture. It touches on the environmental effects of tourism and the impact of economic progress on a country famed for its natural beauty. Foreigners fly in, wanting to change the world, yet they are unable to help bringing their own values and expectations with them, something even longtime residents Jayne and Rajiv can be guilty of.

Jayne, who can speak Thai and knock about with the best of them, is an endearing character to follow, even when her determination brings about dangers, both physical and emotional, that she may not be able to survive.

Fiona Hardy puts together Dead Write for the Readings Monthly.