Monday, June 7, 2010

A monk on a mystery in Mindfulness and Murder

Since seeing Shadow of the Naga and 9 Wat earlier this year, I'm a sucker for interesting, gritty stories about monastic life in Buddhist Thailand, and when producer-director Tom Waller told me about Mindfulness and Murder, the hairs on my neck were standing on end.

It's a murder mystery, based on the novel by the same name by Nick Wilgus, published by Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai.

The hard-boiled tale involves a Buddhist monk who used to be a homicide detective, tasked with solving a murder case.

Here's the synopsis:

In Mindfulness and Murder, a homeless boy comes up murderd at Wat Mahanat, which runs a homeless youth program. The abbot asks Father Ananda, a former homicide detective, to look into it.

The story opens with the discovery of the body, which has been dumped in a bathroom in the back of the monastery/temple complex. The body is that of a young man, pushed face first in an earthen water jar. Ananda takes the body out of the water and discovers that the boy has a candle shoved in his mouth and both eyes gouged out.

The local police arrive, but do little. The homeless boy does not have much priority for them. So Ananda begins investigating the clues for himself. He soon discovers that there is drug dealing going on at this temple. A monk goes missing. Has he fled the scene after killing the boy? Ananda keeps at it, unraveling the clues one by one until he discovers what happened to both the boy and the missing monk.

Waller, head of De Warrenne Pictures, is directing and co-producing with Michael Pritchett. The screenplay is adapted by Wilgus.

The cast has Vithaya Pansringarm as Ananda, with veteran actor Jaran "See Tao" Petcharoen as the temple's abbot. "Way" Prinya Intachai, the rapper from Thaitanium who also plays the villain in The Prince and Me 4: The Elephant Adventure is featured, along with Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova Srichaphan.

Mindfulness and Murder is in editing right now, and hopefully we'll be hearing more about it soon.

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