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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia


Thong-in. Thong-in was created by “Nai Kaew Nai Kwan,” the pseudonym of the Thai author Vajiravudh, and appeared in fifteen stories in Thawi Panya from 1904 to 1907, beginning with “Nak Phrakhanong Thi Sorng” (Thawi Panya, 1904).

Thong-in is a Great Detective modeled on Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin. The Thai Thong-in is an independently-operating member of the government secret police, a phontrawen lap khorn thang ratchakan, operating out of Bangkok. Thong-in is a master of disguise and is completely unknown to the criminals of Bangkok. He is Watsoned by Nai Wat, whose level of intellect is the same as Watson’s and consequently is treated by Thong-in with the same lack of respect that Holmes treats Watson. The crimes Thong-in investigates have a number of elements in common with those Holmes and Dupin solve, but most of the criminals Thong-in captures are foreigners, whether Vietnamese, Burmese, Indians, or white colonials. Thong-in is an ardent Thai patriot.

* I'm including the Thong-in stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because of their historical importance to Thai mystery and detective literature. Thong-in was the first significant detective in Thai popular literature, and Vajiravudh's basing of Thong-in on Sherlock Holmes and C. Auguste Dupin but with added Thai elements guaranteed that the stories would be popular, financial successes for himself, and have an extended lifespan. That the stories were pro-Thai and anti-foreigner was an added bonus for Vajiravudh's readers. That the stories ended up being influential on other Thai detective and mystery writers is not something Vajiravudh could have anticipated, but it is something he likely enjoyed seeing happen. 

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