At "work" on a mystery novel in Luang Prabang, Laos and in Ayudhya, Thailand
Hi, and welcome, mystery fan. Whether you love Chandler, Highsmith, R.H. van Gulik or Lee Child, we all love a mystery. One that is well written with sparkling dialogue, well conceived plot, unexpected twists, and characters that jump off the page. And a bit more. The detectives might be of the cerebral type such as Judge Dee or Sherlock Holmes, or they might be as explosive as Harlem's own Coffin Ed and Grave Digger Jones. But, perhaps in addition to entertaining us, the author provided us with a fascinating glimpse of another world far from our own, be it inside the mind of a murderer hidden within someone much like ourselves or inside a remote temple hidden within a triple-canopy jungle. And just maybe, beyond all that, he or she took us on a journey that in some way explored the human condition. And, that, it seems to me, should be the goal of any writer -- novels, plays, what-have-you.
I make no such grandiose claims about my own writing. But I have lived in Asia for over a quarter of a century, and most of my writing is set in Asia, or, as in the case of Murder in China Red, sets an Asian detective in a Western setting. Whether it be conspiracies based on fact in 19th century Hong Kong, love and deception in modern Thailand, or a Chinese detective on the trail of a murderer in New York, I hope below you find something you like. My goal is to bring readers the smell of black powder and the sharp crack of a flintlock rifle echoing in the Chinese mountains, the beauty of a flotilla of junks with butterfly-wing sails sailing the South China Sea, the pungent odors of a spicy coconut curry soup in a small Bangkok restaurant, and the mirth and madness of the streets of New York's East Village as seen through the eyes of a China-born detective.
On this site you can listen to the old time radio shows of Raymond Chandler's detective Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett's detective Sam Spade, The 39 Steps, Dragnet, Sherlock Holmes and more (thanks to Windows Media Player). You will also find a short one-act play about three hit men, Death of a Legend, which has been performed by several theater groups in several nations and which also won an Otto Penzler/Donald Westlake honorable mention as a short story in Blue Murder Magazine. As I have a satirical bent, you will find a bit of fun in the pages labeled "Of Vital Interest to Mystery Fans." I've also written a number of non-mystery novels, and books on China including a fairytale and a humorous, non-fiction travel book on China; you'll find them here too. But this site is primarily devoted to mystery fiction and it should continue to grow quickly. I love getting your comments about the site and about mysteries so feel free to write.
Now let the bodies pile up.
Please send your thoughts, musings, plots, intrigues, subterfuges and conspiracies to
Photographing Asia - A Photographer's Notebook
"No one describes the ins and outs of living in the sultry Far East better than Dean Barrett...The dialogue is as real and raw as any you'll hear sitting at a Pattaya beer bar and the characters are so true-to-life that long after finishing the book you'll think that you actually met them - it's just that you got too drunk to remember the details."
- Stephen Leather, author, Hard Landing
"I found myself captivated. Barrett has a deep and considered knowledge of things Chinese…and has a gift for expressing his passion for the country’s history and art." - Daniel Cooper, Untamed Travel Magazine