New armchair travel book Asia

BANGKOK, 10 September 2021: Unimpeded international travel with open borders, no tests, no quarantines, and no travel restrictions is now possible in September 2021, as revealed in a new book launched this month featuring destinations around the globe, including popular spots in Southeast Asia.

Anyone (including TTR Weekly readers), regardless of whether a business or leisure traveller, can discover exotic locations in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India and the Maldives. But there is a catch.

Access to those places can only happen virtually – through the imagination – rather than in real life. There are lots of riddles and dead ends in ‘The Whole Wide World’ (Sweetycat Press; ISBN 979-8450568317), a unique crime fiction anthology co-authored by different 80 writers, with each chapter set in a new location.

The newly-released detective book was written and produced during a time when most of the world’s 7.9 billion population have been under Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, stay-at-home orders or cross-border travel restrictions. However, armchair travellers and avid sleuths can follow the twists and turns of a transnational manhunt crisscrossing the globe.

The plot centres around efforts to solve one of the greatest heists ever pulled off, with Detective Curly Knucklewad and his assistant Wanda Wowzer pursuing leads and clues in search of the thief who stole a secret recipe.

Sweetycat Press publisher and editor Steve Carr wanted the experimental project to highlight not just the 80 authors selected for inclusion in the book but also diverse settings throughout the planet, ranging from Bangkok, Chennai and New Delhi to the Maldives and China.

Authors selected for the anthology include award-winning detective writers, lawyers, TV news correspondents, college English professors, and a Vietnam War Top Secret counter-insurgency writer and press agency photographer.

For some contributors, such as Myanmar’s San Lin Tun, English is not their first language. “With around 2 billion people speaking or reading English, I am pleased to have my work and my location represented in this global project. Many of the original Sherlock Holmes stories were adapted and translated into the Burmese language in the 1930s, so in placing my episode of the crime caper in Myanmar, I am following in the footsteps of that tradition. I have always wanted to write Yangon Noir, and this anthology gives me a chance to showcase it.”

The short action-packed episodes of ‘The Whole Wide World’ will have broad says Thailand-based travel writer Christopher Winnan, author of ‘Around the World in Eighty Documentaries’.

“This new book about an international chase is a great idea, and in this post-pandemic world, it shows the value of co-operation and collaboration beyond borders, as well as the value of armchair travel in exploring the world in a more sustainable, zero-carbon way. ‘The World Wide World’ joins the list of ‘must-reads’ for 2021 for any stay-at-home sleuth-hound, amateur private investigator or wannabe gumshoe.”

“Ultimately ‘The Whole Wide World’ is about re-discovering the joy of international travel and place, something almost all of us are missing right now.” ‘The Whole Wide World’ (…/dp/B09DD9NC1Y/ref) available in 390-page paperback (USD14.99) and ebook (USD4.99) versions since 1 September 2021 launch.

Book review by Keith Lyons ( an award-winning writer from New Zealand, based in Asia.