Vinnie Calvino

Created by Christopher G. Moore (1946--)

Dubbed the "The Hemingway of Bangkok," expatriate Christopher G. Moore is one of Canada's most successful novelists. Yet, perhaps typically, he's almost unknown in Canada (or North America, for that matter). But in Thailand and Southeast Asia he's become something of a sensation, especially among foreign workers and travelers. His English language novels regularly hit the bestseller lists there, able to easily sell 20,000 copies in Bangkok alone, and he's eagerly and quickly translated into German, Japanese, Chinese and Thai. And his detective novels, featuring Bangkok-based private eye VINCENT CALVINO, the embedded ex-pat, are the most popular of all, able to hold their own against the likes of heavyweights like Michael Crichton and Stephen King. Calvino, in fact, is one of the world's most popular and best-selling eyes.

"Vinee" is an ex-New Yorker, living in Bangkok. It's his home, but he's always very aware of being an outsider, as well. So he walks that fine line, doing what must be done, trying to live by a seemingly endless set of personal rules he's cobbled together (eg. "only marry an orphan"). He's aided and sometimes hampered in his investigations by his friend, Thai Police Lieutenant-Colonel Prachai "Pratt" Congwatana.

A big part of Moore's charm is his unerring eye for the intricacies of not just the Thai culture but also the Thai psyche, and the curious demimonde of the expat community, caught forever in the tug-of-war between East and West. Calvino's world is one of foreign correspondents, diplomats, business executives, English language teachers, adventurers, drunks, con artists, whores and hustlers, all unwilling, unable or uninterested in going home. From what I've heard, he captures the sights and sounds and the lights of Bangkok's nightlife particularly well.

Christopher G. Moore was born in 1946, trained in law at Oxford University, and was a professor of law at University of British Columbia. He lived for a while in New York City, but currently lives in Bangkok. His first novel, His Lordship's Arsenal, was published in 1985, and proved to be an instant success, both commercially and critically, and he has since written close to twenty more books. The third in the Calvino series, Cut Out (aka "Zero Hour in Phnom Penh"), was awarded the 2004 Deutsche Krimi Preis (the German Critics Award for Crime Fiction).

He's also the editor of two noir collections set in southeast Asia, Bangkok Noir (2011) and Phnom Penh Noir (2012), as well as The Culturla Detective (2011), a fascinating tour of Moore's thoughts on Thailand, crime fiction, writing & politics.


  • "Thais have a saying about a frog living inside a coconut shell. The frog believes that the world inside the shell is the whole universe. In the private investigation business, Vincent Calvino had clients who were like the frog. What they saw from inside their shell blinded them, made them unable to solve a problem. So they hired Calvino. He knew the drill. Shells offered comfort and security. Leaving a shell could be a dangerous business. Calvino’s froglike clients paid him to venture into a larger existence and to find out and report on the wiring of relationships and places and events, how they were linked and fit together in networks."

-- the opening paragraph of The Risk of Infidelity Index


  • "Moore is without doubt a real writer and one to watch."

-- Publisher's Weekly

  • "Moore's work doesn't flinch from cultural detail or complex social analysis. He takes chances, lots of them."

-- International Herald Tribune

  • "A thinking man's Philip Marlowe, Calvino is a cynic on the surface but a romantic at heart...Calvino...found himself in Bangkok--the end of the world for a whole host of bizarre foreigners unwilling, unable, or uninterested in going home."

-- The Daily Yomiuri



Moore muses on Thailand, crime fiction, writing & politics. Fascinating.

First-ever anthology of Bangkok crime fiction, edited by Moore and featuring original noir stories by John Burdett, Pico Iyer, Timothy Hallinan and Dean Barrett, among others.

Featuring original noir stories by James Grady, John Burdett, Roland Joffé (the director of The Killing Fields), Kosal Khiev, Prabda Yoon, Bopha Phorn, Giancarlo Narciso, Richard Rubenstein, Suong Mak, Andrew Nette, Bob Bergin, Neil Wilford and several writers named Christopher.

  • Vincent Calvino's World: A Noir Guide to Southeast Asia (2015) ..Kindle it!
    By Chad A. Evans

A long overdue appreciation of Moore's Shamus-winning P.I. series. Go Global!


Highlights the dark side to expat life in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Our man in Bangkok. you can also buy his books here, which is great because they can be a little difficult to find sometimes.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks to Big Phil for having my back.

Drop a dime. Your comments, suggestions, corrections and contributions are always welcome.
"...and I'll tell you right out that I'm a man who likes talking to a man that likes to talk."

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