Spinning Top (Kain Songket Mysteries Book 5)
- About the Author
It was the dry season, when all Kelantan bursts into artistic bloom, with theatre and contests and all manner of entertainment staged in the dry rice paddies, which were now cracked and flat and hard as rock. A large group of men readied themselves for a top spinning contest: those in charge of the tops rotating their shoulders and loosening their already prominent biceps. Others, who would watch the tops spin and calculate which had done so the longest, were smoothing the ground to provide a platform. The bettors, always the centre of activity, were watching the throwers get ready, while discussing their histories and the odds. Ramli, throwing next to last, was well known in top circles as a dependable player, calm, controlled and often a winner. Today was no different than any of his other major competitions. He calmly pulled up his sarong and wrapped it between his legs, to preserve decency in the heat of the throw, and tossed his cigarette nonchalantly to the side. He wrapped the heavy rope around the spindle of his top, covering its flat surface, and swung it back and forth a few times to warm up. He twisted his body to get the maximum amount of torque, and then let it fly with a mighty heave. As it never had before in all his years of throwing, it skidded over the platform and scored a bullseye on the head of a squatting onlooker, killing him instantly.
In Spinning Top, volume five in the Kain Songket Mysteries, Aunty Maryam takes on what at first appears to be a straightforward case of accidental death but she knows that nothing in Kelantan is what it seems and another murder investigation is afoot.
Barbara Ismail spent several years in Kelantan in the 1970s and '80s, living in Kampong Dusun and Pengkalan Cepa, studying Wayang Siam and the Kelantanese dialect. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from Yale University, and is originally from Brooklyn, New York.
Page Count: 250
Year Published: 2020
Size: 197mm x 130mm