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Philippine women solve crime literature mystery

New genre emerging as writers explore Southeast Asian culture of violence

Crime busters F.H. Batacan, left, and Laurel Flores Fantauzzo. (Courtesy of the authors and Soho Press)

MANILA -- The Philippines is the scene of many crimes. Gang warfare, child exploitation, robbery, blackmail and corruption are relentlessly depicted in the country's movies. Yet it has taken two young women, of disparate backgrounds and approaches, yet both highly political, to exploit the possibilities for local mystery writing.

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