Tuesday, April 6, 2010
DRINK THE TEA by Thomas Kaufman
To me, the most interesting part of Thomas Kaufman's Drink the Tea was the story of Willis Gidney's childhood.
Kaufman's hero Gidney was more than just a foster child. He was literally a child without a name.
His abandonment is echoed in the mystery he is called to solve.
When a jazz musician friend asks small-time private eye Gidney to find his daughter, another at-least-partially-abandoned child, Gidney runs into both a dangerous pursuit and what I would call typical Washington D.C. intrigue.
It is no surprise to find crooked politicians in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, though many politicians are honest, a crooked politician still strikes a note.
For me, that part of the story was, not trite, but expected. The background story may be unusual, but a book that reflects disenchantment with apparently powerful politicians is not.
At one point, Kaufman quotes Rikyu, "Look with your eyes and listen with your ears, smell the incense and grasp the meaning with questions." In other words, live life, drink the tea. And that's what Gidney does. He doesn't solve a puzzle. He lives the life he has been given to live, and that is the blessing of this book.
This is a good and promising book. Winner of the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) Best First Novel, it makes me look forward to more Willis Gidney.