Detectives real and fic­tional

Among the pro­tag­o­nists fea­tured in this week’s round up of books are med­i­cal mas­ters, so­ci­ety sleuths and dour detectives.

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The Other Side Of Im­pos­si­ble: Or­di­nary Peo­ple Who Faced Daunt­ing Med­i­cal Chal­lenges And Re­fused To Give Up

Au­thor: Su­san­nah Mead­ows Pub­lisher: Ran­dom House, non­fic­tion

AMER­I­CAN jour­nal­ist Su­san­nah Mead­ows’ son was di­ag­nosed at age three with ju­ve­nile id­io­pathic arthri­tis, a painful au­toim­mune dis­ease af­fect­ing the joints.

Un­happy about the side ef­fects of her son’s med­i­ca­tions, Mead­ows looked for al­ter­na­tives and dis­cov­ered “the health­care un­der­ground” of pa­tients look­ing at com­ple­men­tary or al­ter­na­tive strate­gies for treat­ing and de­feat­ing chronic and de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tions.

Here Mead­ows of­fers the re­al­life sto­ries of seven fam­i­lies who trav­elled to the outer fron­tiers of med­i­cal sci­ence and cut­ting-edge com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies to deal with their ill­nesses. While she does not make sci­en­tific claims in her book, Mead­ows ex­plores these fam­i­lies’ ex­pe­ri­ences with the in­ten­tion of sug­gest­ing “po­ten­tial tar­gets for new re­search”.

Party Girls Die In Pearls (Ox­ford Girl Mys­tery #1)

Au­thor: Plum Sykes Pub­lisher: Harper, fic­tion

BRI­TISH fash­ion jour­nal­ist for the Amer­i­can edi­tion of Vogue mag­a­zine and so­cialite Plum Sykes made her fic­tion de­but in 2004 with the best­selling Bergdorf Blon­des set in a world she knew well: New York’s fash­ion­able and rich jet­set­ters. In her third novel (the se­cond is The Debu­tante Di­vorcee,

2005), Sykes mines her alma mater, Ox­ford, as the set­ting for a mur­der in­volv­ing the posh set.

New (schol­ar­ship) stu­dent and un­pol­ished coun­try girl Ur­sula Flower­but­ton dis­cov­ers the body and is de­ter­mined to con­duct her own in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Luck­ily, she man­ages to elicit the – some­times un­wel­come – at­ten­tion of trend-set­ting Amer­i­can ex­change stu­dent Nancy Fein­gold, and the two em­bark, fash­ion­ably garbed at Nancy’s in­sis­tence, on a dan­ger­ous ad­ven­ture that be­lies Ox­ford’s sleepy fa­cade.

The Thirst (Harry Hole #11)

Au­thor: Jo Nesbo Pub­lisher: Harvill Secker, fic­tion

THE dour, trou­bled Harry Hole is ac­tu­ally ... happy. But that doesn’t last, of course, as his mis­ery has been a defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic in this Scan­di­noir (Scan­di­na­vian crime fic­tion) se­ries known as much for its twists and turns as a par­tic­u­larly tor­tured pro­tag­o­nist.

In the lat­est book, Harry is black­mailed into re­turn­ing to Oslo’s pre­miere po­lice crime squad when a se­ries of mur­ders mim­ick­ing vam­pire at­tacks take place in the cap­i­tal. De­spite the pres­sure of the black­mail, our an­ti­hero is re­luc­tant to give up his happy new life and re­turn to bloody mur­der – un­til he re­alises there might be con­nec­tion be­tween these new killings and a case he failed to close when he was a de­tec­tive.

Truth Or Fic­tion

Au­thors: Lak­shmy A. Kr­ish­nan, Mar­garet Fletcher & Pushpa Menon

Pub­lisher: Sil­ver­fish Books, short sto­ries

LO­CAL in­die pub­lisher Sil­ver­fish Books is known for its col­lec­tions of short sto­ries writ­ten by lo­cal au­thors. In this one, the pub­lisher has gone re­gional, bring­ing to­gether au­thors from Aus­tralia, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore.

Aussie Mar­garet Fletcher shares ob­ser­va­tions of Kuala Lumpur’s ex­pa­tri­ate com­mu­nity; Malaysian Pushpa Menon, a re­tired lawyer, flexes her al­ready sea­soned sto­ry­telling mus­cles with new tales; and Sin­ga­porean Lak­shmy A. Kr­ish­nan ex­plores her roots with anec­dotes from the past.

The Frangi­pani Tree Mys­tery

Au­thor: Ovidia Yu

Pub­lisher: Con­sta­ble, fic­tion

PRO­LIFIC Sin­ga­porean au­thor and play­wright Ovidia Yu – best known for her Aunty Lee am­a­teur sleuth se­ries – has be­gun a new tril­ogy, this time set dur­ing colo­nial times on the is­land.

When the nanny to the Act­ing Gov­er­nor’s daugh­ter dies un­ex­pect­edly, Chief In­spec­tor Thomas LeFroy ar­ranges for lo­cal girl Su Lin to re­place her.

The mis­sion school-ed­u­cated Su Lin is more than happy to take the job if only to avoid an ar­ranged mar­riage.

But when more peo­ple die, all in mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances, Su Lin the as­pir­ing jour­nal­ist de­cides to find out if there is a killer stalk­ing the cor­ri­dors of Gov­ern­ment House.

The Chief In­spec­tor is not amused. At first. Un­til Su Lin’s lo­cal know-how proves in­valu­able, even mark­ing her as the next vic­tim.

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