Almost a hundred years ago, Agatha Christie published an Hercule Poirot mystery, Death in the Air, which takes place on a flight from Paris to London. It may not be her most famous, but debut author Ram Murali has recycled the title for his whodunnit set mainly in the foothills of the Himalayas near Rishikesh—where the Beatles studied meditation—but also in small parts in London, Paris, and Bermuda.

Derek Chung is not only a prolific poet, novelist, and essayist, he’s also an acclaimed translator that has brought work from Li-Young Lee, Carl Sandburg, Williams Carlos Williams and others into Chinese. Now a new English translation of his poetry collection, A Cha Chaan Teng That Does Not Exist, from May Huang, brings back to life Hong Kong from twenty years ago. As the title and colorful cover artwork imply, the poems describe a Hong Kong that has changed greatly.

The term “Shanghailander”, coined over a hundred years ago, referred to foreigners who lived in Shanghai’s French Concession or International Settlement. In her debut novel, Shanghailanders, Juli Min has reclaimed this term for contemporary use to include a wider spectrum of expatriates and to indicate, somewhat contrary to current narratives,  that Shanghai remains—and will remain in the decades to come—an international city.

After much of the western world let go of its colonies in the years following World War II, the United States did the opposite in Guam: it not only re-occupied the island, but established a (massive) military base there. The culture in Guam is a melange of the legacy of Spanish colonialism (particularly seen in surnames), indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) people, and American colonization interrupted by Japanese occupation during WWII. With a total population equivalent to that of a middling US city, it is perhaps not surprising that there has been a dearth of literature from the island. 

Death is an uncomfortable subject yet in all cultures and societies there are jobs like undertakers and pathologists that deal with it on a daily basis. In the Chinese countryside, funeral cryers are a big part of the way people mourn death. Wenyan Lu’s debut novel, The Funeral Cryer, centers around a middle-aged woman in northeast China who goes into this profession to put food on the table when no one else in her family seems to be able to lift a hand. Lu’s book is a heartwarming story about death, but also life, love and finding hope.

Born of a Swiss mother and an Indian father and raised in England, Meira Chand’s novels have been set in Japan, Singapore, and India, and a couple have been adapted for the stage in London and Singapore. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she lived in India. Her recent book, The Pink, White and Blue Universe, is a new collection of thirteen stories set in India, many of which tackle the issues of belonging.

Seicho Matsumoto was one of Japan’s most celebrated mystery writers —with two dozen novels to his name from the late 1950s, at a time when Japan was rebuilding after the war until just before his death in 1992—but only in recent years his work has been translated into English. Point Zero, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, is one of his early novels. The story, set in 1958 and the first part of 1959, takes place mainly in Tokyo and the western port city of Kanazawa and is defined by both the hope of the new era and the agonies of war.