This is the second in Burdett’s series starring a devout Buddhist cop whose boss is corrupt and whose mother runs a successful whorehouse for aging American tourists. Burdett wrote this book with more confidence than the Bangkok 8 and that makes it a better read. The characters seem less self-conscious and consequently more believable. The mystery is strong until the end, the plot snappy, and the reason for reading any mystery — the opportunity to learn about another time, place, and culture — is excellent. How else might I ever see the inner workings of Bangkok’s red light district through the eyes of a Buddhist? December 2005.