#1 Inspector O mystery, set in modern day North Korea, mostly in the capital Pyongyang, but O also travels out to several outlying areas. The story begins with him on a stakeout to take a picture of a car going by on a road in a rural area outside the city. Those are his orders, but of course the camera fails due to dead batteries and the story moves along to a tale of intrigue and espionage between one Ministry and another, sort of a Spy vs. Spy kind of thing with a friend of O's boss named Kang directing much of the action as he tries to evade the Military Security branch run by Colonel Kim. Many deaths occurred along the way, and O is never quite sure who to trust, so mostly he doesn't trust anyone.
It was confusing at first, since I had virtually no knowledge of how things are in North Korea, or what life is like. But I quickly came to like Inspector O, and once I stopped trying to figure everything out and sat back to enjoy the story, it was fine, the details fell into place and I really enjoyed getting to know the country and the main character. The writing style is hard to describe--somewhat of a literary, lyrical side to it, and a definite dry sense of humor there in the background too. I have to read the next book just to find out if O ever gets his cup of tea!
What a great mystery! Inspector O was told to go to the hillside and take one picture. Who knew that this one action would tumble into a maze of murder and multiple dead ends. The characters were believable, so was the setting, countryside of North Korea.