A Death in Hanoi was created for a friend in 2010, but the original inspiration for the story began much earlier, in 2008. After moving to a new neighborhood in Hanoi, I was walking amidst piles of rubble, broken concrete, and dirt that lined the path where a road was going to be built. There amidst the crud and gloom of a gray winter stood a red metal hearse with a tiered roof like a pagoda, just the same as appears in the story. I was struck by its appearance, which was not merely old fashioned, but other-worldly, and the image stayed in my mind for years afterward. Then, in 2010, the story finally evolved into a completed hand-bound book which I presented to a friend as a birthday gift.
In late 2010 I had several copies of the book printed as gifts for other friends. These were seen by the owner of the Bookworm bookshop, who suggested I print some to sell at the store. After that, the story seemed to take on a life of its own, and is still available in Hanoi at the Bookworm. Please see the Links page for more information on obtaining the book.