The book really hit me with a sock filled with rocks in it, but in a real pleasant way. I’ve got the lumps on my head to prove it and an icepack, trying to get the swelling down.
‘I’m sorry,” she said to Tay, ‘but I’m going to have to step outside to take this.”
‘No need to be sorry,’ he said. “I hate listening to people talk on cell phones.”
And he hates talking on the phone himself. He occasionally answers it, in a bumbling way. Who has never done that? There’s a universal truth in that one. We are all kidding ourselves that we are cool when we answer the phone. For Tay, using a cell phone is usually a last resort. And if he has to leave a message on an answer machine, then the shit is really hitting the fan.
I was just about to be hit with the sock with the stones in it again.
‘Tay consulted his shoes. They told him to bite his tongue and so he did.’
You bastard, Tay.
‘I didn’t realise I had to tell you to do it right away.’
It’s a line that tickles me pink. Tay doesn’t miss a trick.
Hoover Hotel. Lady boys, and blow jobs? Too good.
“She’s a chim.”
“Shim, sir. A she-him. Orchard tower is where most them hang out.”
Kang is only trying to be helpful and I’m not going into details here.
‘He lit it and took a long, hard pull.’
Tay is thinking.
‘What were you two trying for? Kinky couple of the year.’
Ouch that really hurt.
‘He scooped some beans from the coffee jar and put them in the grinder.’
I bet Tay makes a very mean and strong coffee.
The Ambassador’s Wife is is heavy on dialogue leaving little time for sightseeing in Singapore. That comes later in the series. Tay is asserting himself but it’s not like he needs to prove anything. He’s comfortable with who he is and has been around on the police force for over 25 years.
This is what he does and he is tolerated for his stubborn approach to busting balls to get a case solved. He’s not going to sit around and just let serendipity provide him the leads. He’s got his boys on surveillance. Robbie Kang, his side kick, is loyal and doesn’t mind working off the books with a few other lads in the police force doing some ‘following’ for Tay who has a hunch.
But it’s going to piss off Tay’s boss who explicitly told him to back off. You don’t become a senior investigator in Singapore by breaking the rules. Not so in Needham books where Tay is the exception to the rule.
Tay has successfully asserted himself. He was considered a stand over and not the full quid by his sparring partner in the FBI. Now that was a big mistake.The FBI agent will need more than an icepack after being socked with something a bit more effective than a sock with stones in it.
The Ambassador’s Wife is the first in the Inspector Tay series.
‘He was on a steamer sailing into the River Styx and there was a madman at the helm.’
Just poetic to the bone. See, Jake Needham is following in the literary tradition of detective novels.
For more back ground on the Inspector Tay series, check this interview out.