Intrepid young curator-turned-private eye Jenna Murphy—whom readers first met in A Head in Cambodia—goes to the tourist town of Ubud to study early twentieth-century Balinese painting. But her first discovery when she arrives in Indonesia is the speared body of expat artist Flip Hendricks. She soon is working with an old friend, a detective for the Ubud police force, to seek the killer. Jenna suspects the motive for the killing has to do with Flip’s paintings.
Wayang kulit, or shadow puppetry, connects a mythic past to the present through public ritual performance and is one of most important performance traditions in Bali. The dalang, or puppeteer, is revered in Balinese society as a teacher and spiritual leader. Recently, women have begun to study and perform in this traditionally male role, an innovation that has triggered resistance and controversy.