Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Army Sergeants Sueno and Bascom Investigate the Murder of an Army Major in the South Korea of 1974

The eleventh entry in Martin Limon's series featuring U. S. Army Sergeants George Sueno and Ernie Bascom begins with a minor theft. An army major named Schulz accuses a bar girl of stealing the Korean equivalent of about fifty dollars from him. Apparently the two had a "date" but the poor major was unable to perform and demanded his money back. 

When the woman refuses to give him his money back, the major accuses her of theft and demands that she be forced to return the money. CID investigators Sueno and Bascom launch an investigation, but before they can complete it, Major Schulz is found hacked to death behind a bar. The young woman he accused of theft has disappeared.

The U. S. Army and the South Korean police force want this matter resolved ASAP, and neither is particularly concerned that genuine justice might be served. As far as they're concerned, the bar girl is almost certainly guilty of the murder. They would prefer that she be captured, tried, convicted and sentenced immediately.

Sueno and Bascom aren't so easily convinced and, as they have demonstrated repeatedly through the ten novels preceding this one, they don't particularly care what the Army and the South Koreans might prefer. They find it hard to believe that the bar girl, Miss Jo Kyong-ja, could have committed the crime--at least not without help. They are determined to find her before the South Koreans can seal her fate, and figure out what actually happened. Doing so will make some powerful and dangerous enemies, and Sueno and Bascom will have to step quickly and smartly if they're going to save both Miss Jo and themselves.

This novel is set in the South Korea of 1974, and as always, one of the principal delights of the book is Limon's description of the South Korean culture and the interaction between the U.S. Army and South Koreans at a variety of levels. It's always fun to ride along with Sueno and Bascom, and it's especially entertaining to watch them weave their way in and around their own commanding officers and the officials of the Korean National Police. This book is another very good addition to the series.

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