I open the ink pad and roll her thumb over the ink, then onto the bottom of the paper. Vikorn, a consummate professional, has neatly ended her report without the need for a second page.
"Anything I've left out?"
"No," I say in awe. The statement is a masterly mosaic of several standard stories from the Game, artfully interwoven with great economy of language. Still more remarkable in a cop who carries his legal scholarship so lightly, he has laid the foundations for an impregnable defense to a charge of murder or even manslaughter: she used only such force as was necessary to save her life and did not deliver the fatal blow; when she saw how badly he was wounded, she attempted without success to save his life; and she expressed sorrow and respect by her sensitive placing of his severed member in a position of honor. The dead farang's standard-issue hatred of the opposite sex arising from bitter personal experience of his own countrywomen provides a motive for his aggression and his sexual preferences. "I think you've covered everything."
"Good. Give her a copy when she wakes up, and make sure she memorizes it. If there's anything she wants to change, tell her she can't."
"D'you want to visit the scene of the crime?"
"Not really. Anyway, it wasn't a crime, so don't prejudice justice by calling it that. Self-defense is not illegal, especially when by a woman on a Saturday night in Krung Thep."
"Still, I think you'd better come," I say. He grunts irritably but stands up anyway and jerks his chin in the general direction of the street.
Excerpted from Bangkok Tattoo by John Burdett Copyright © 2005 by John Burdett. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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