A Death in Bali: A Jenna Murphy Mystery

Nancy Tingley. Swallow, $26.95 (328p) ISBN 978-0-8040-1196-9
Art historian Tingley’s plodding sequel to 2017’s A Head in Cambodia takes Jenna Murphy, a curator at California’s Searles Museum, to Ubud, on the island of Bali, to interview Dutch artist Flip Hendricks as part of her research into Balinese paintings. On entering Hendricks’s house, she finds the man lying dead on the floor, a spear run straight through his body. Jenna impulsively grabs a small sack tied at the corpse’s waist containing a tiny bronze figure. The investigating officer, Wayan Tyo, who happens to have known Jenna as a child, makes her feel even more guilty about tampering with the crime scene. Jenna doggedly pursues her belief that the answer to the killing lies in Hendricks having painted fakes that were presented as authentic Balinese artwork. This informed and often fascinating look at the world of Balinese art is marred by clichéd developments, dull romantic entanglements, and mediocre prose (“I’d known nothing of death until this year, when murder had invaded both my life and my dreams”). (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
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