Glebe Point, Australia | Member Since 2010
This is the original and best Rumpole by the late Sir John Mortimer QC an eminent member of the English bar himself. Reading this book again brings back nostalgic memories of the fabulous TV series of the same name featuring the late and great Australian actor, Leo McKern. Between them Mortimer and McKern captured the essence of the real practice of the law - cut and thrust, talent, innovation, cynicism, mateship, an understanding of the underlying jurisprudential principle of the rule of law and above all fun. Rumpole provides the complete answer to the question every lawyer fields many times during his/her working life "How can you represent a client who you know is guilty?" Wonderful and hugely entertaining.
John Burdett's creative juices must be drying up or he needs to move on. Bangkok 8 was great. Bangkok Tattoo and Bangkok Haunts were very good but the weird sci-fi mysticism themes a little contrived.
The Godfather of Kathmandu relies on The Godfather and The Silence of the Lambs movies to provide the background storylines with a little help from the Golden Book on the History of South East Asian Opiates Trading and Buddhism for Dummies. The moralising in the last chapter was overdone - get off the pulpit John and let the readers make up their own minds.
But worst of all was the narrator. Songhai Jitpleecheep, the half American half Thai Buddhist Bangkok detective, a great character, with a James Bond accent - give us a break. Stephen Hogan did not even bother to get the pronunciation of Thai words and phrases correct. Luk kreung (Thai: ลูกครึ่ง), literally "child half", a colloquial reference in the Thai language to a person who is of mixed Thai and European origins bore no similarity to the correct pronunciation. Tom Yum Goong and Krung Thep (the Thai word for Bangkok) both got different versions at different spots. And there were other glaring errors. But worst of all, farang, (ฝรั่ง) the generic Thai word for a Westerner and to whom the story is narrated was constantly pronounced far- rang instead of the correct far-rung. Did not Burdett even speak to Hogan. Also Burdett certainly does not have the depth of understanding of Thai culture like fellow Thai authors in the same genre such as Christopher Moore and Dean Barrett.
Time for Sonchai to retire I think. Three stars because I love the characters.
If you want to learn spoken native Thai this is the course.
I ave been coming to Thailand for 10 years and now live in Chiang Mai for about half the time. I started to attempt Thai language by purchasing the usual phrase books - so so. I found that after a while my vocab improved but my syntax, intonation, pitch and pronunciation were poor and my ability to understand native Thai speakers almost nil. Next to Audio courses and iPhone apps - a little better but almost no understanding of syntax and grammar. After a 2 month course at Chiang Mai University with an excellent teacher I could communicate with non English speaking Thais. I then discovered Dr Pimsleur. Fabulous. For the first time I cane to grips with tone and pitch. My teacher at CMU used a similar method and had probably unwittingly stumbled upon the Pimsleur method . Fellow students who were language teachers said that her teaching techniques were archaic but she was a brilliant teacher - the problem was that she was only available for 3 hours a day during the course. Pimsleur is available on demand until you get it perfect. This is without doubt the best non face to face Thai language course available. I can now understand what my Thai friends are saying and I can converse with them and they can understand me. If you want to speak Thai this is it.
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