The Foreign Service Journal, September 2012

12 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 2 driver —Hare Singh. (Hare is a Hin- dustani title of respect; Singh is not his real name.) Thompson, the theory goes, had been targeted by criminals while visiting various antique shops during a side trip to Penang. They learned through the underworld grapevine that this rich American, the “Silk King” and antique collector, was traveling with a lot of cash in order to close an important business transac- tion with a wealthy Singaporean Chi- nese couple, well-known antique dealers. Stalking Thompson’s cottage, Singh then followed him as he took a walk outside in late afternoon on March 26, 1967. Singh delivered a knockout blow, not to kill him, but to get the key to his cottage and remove the hoard of U.S. dollars. But because Thompson was already sickly, he died from the mugging. Panicking, Singh put Thompson’s body in his taxi and dumped it in the Straits of Malacca, in the tradition of local pirates giving their victims per- manent burial at sea. If one selects the simplest rather than the most complex of competing theories (Occam’s razor), Murchie’s explanation is both the most succinct and the best explanation of how Jim Thompson vanished. Jose Armilla FSO, retired Vienna, Va. L E T T E R S Send Your Letters to Watch for the November FSJ ’s annual roundup of books by current and former members of the Foreign Service and their families. 2012 A NNUAL FS A UTHORS R OUNDUP