Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Archive for Laos

Paul Brazill interviews The Man with the Golden Mind

Crime writer Paul Brazill interviews me about my current crime fiction projects including the republication of my 1960s CIA thriller The Man with the Golden Mind, featuring former war correspondent turned Detective Maier. The second Maier mystery is currently published by Crime Wave Press in ebook format. Julia Rendel asks Maier to investigate the twenty-five […]

The Man with the Golden Mind – republished via Crime Wave Press

Originally published by Exhibit A, my second Detective Maier novel, The Man with the Golden Mind, is now available again via Crime Wave Press. Julia Rendel asks Maier to investigate the twenty-five year old murder of her father, an East German cultural attaché who was killed near a fabled CIA airbase in central Laos in […]

Vint Lawrence – CIA handler of General Vang Pao dies

I somehow missed the recent passing of Vint Lawrence, CIA handler of notorious Hmong General Vang Pao in Long Cheng, Laos, in the early 60s, who threw his secret agent career away to become a political cartoonist in Washington. Read an obituary and summary of Vint’s remarkable life here. Vint Lawrence is interviewed in the […]

The Man with the Golden Mind – Review in Looking For A Good Book

Great review of my second Detective Maier novel The Man with the Golden Mind at Looking for a Good Book, from 2014. Writers often hear the mantra “show, don’t tell,” but author Vater brings this to a new level.  Rather than showing us what is happening, he brings us in to the environment and lets […]

My catalogue of field recordings from Asia at The British Library.

Between 1995 and 2004 I recorded several hundred hours of music and sounds from Asia for The British Library’s National Sound Archive – material from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, The Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan, India and Nepal. I recorded mostly the music of minorities and musicians in remote rural locations. I released several CD collections of […]

Democracy in Southeast Asia – A Story Untold

I was recently commissioned by a Thai English language magazine to write a short satirical piece abut Democracy in SE Asia.  After much back and forth, the publication decided not to go ahead with the article, apparently due to the current political climate in Thailand. In the West – by which I generally mean the […]

British Library holds a significant collection of Lao material – including unpublished recordings of remote populations by Tom Vater

Hmong Lao Khaen player in Vientiane 2001 The British Library holds a small but significant collection of Lao material, consisting of manuscripts, rare printed books, periodicals and post cards, mainly acquired after 1973. However, the oldest items in Lao language date back to the 19th century. The earliest book about Laos is in Italian and […]

Happy New Year and thanks to all my Readers

Fred Branfman – Obituary – The Daily Telegraph

“The Plain of Jars, what it’s a symbol of, is how those people on the vague frontiers, those people in the Third World, those people we never see, we never know about, we never hear, can be vaporised, wiped off the face of the earth without people back here even knowing about it.” My obituary […]

The Man with the Golden Mind in The Chiang Mai City News

The Man with the Golden Mind, the second Detective Maier Mystery, published by Exhibit A Books, gets reviewed by Kevin Cummings in The Chiang Mai City News. Vater​ has fine-tuned his craft. The writing is tighter than The Cambodian Book of the Dead (Exhibit A 2013) although still on the darker and more violent side of crime […]

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