Shadow Play (Kain Songhet Mysteries #1) – Barbara Ismail
“Shadow Play” is the first in the series of “Kain Songket Mysteries” set in the northern state of Kelantan, Malaysia during the 1970s.
Mak Cik Maryam, a smart and take-charge kain songket (silk) trader in Kota Bharu Central Market, discovers a murder in her own backyard, shattering the bucolic village world she thought surrounded her. While the new Chief of Police, a pleasant young man from Ipoh whose mother’s admonitions about the wiles of Kelantanese girls still ring in his ears, wrestles with the bewildering local dialect, Maryam steps up to solve the mystery herself. Her investigation brings her into the closed world of the wayang kulit Shadow Play theater and the lives of its performers—a world riven by rivalries and black magic. Trapped in a tangle of jealousy, Maryam struggles to make sense of the crime in spite of the spells sent to keep her from secrets long buried and lies woven to shield the guilty.