US Korea Institute

Monday March 27th 2017
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James Church

Drawing on his experience as a veteran intelligence operative, this well-known author is also an astute expert on the North.

Inspector O and a Very Good Book

Inspector O and a Very Good Book

“Barbara Demick has won the Samuel Johnson prize.” I was looking at a copy of her book when Inspector O walked into my hotel room and closed the door. “I know. Wonderful writing. Well deserved.” He scanned the walls and then the ceiling before moving a worn green chair nearer to mine. “You know the book?” “Of course I know [...]

Inspector O and the SPA Music Hall

Inspector O and the SPA Music Hall

I didn’t suppose it was by chance that Inspector O was standing next to a gingko tree outside of my hotel. “Long time no see, Inspector.” “Yeah. Long time.” “I take it you were not at the meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly last week.” “Actually, I was. I had duty downstairs. I’m the one that passes out the [...]

A Horse of a Different Color

A Horse of a Different Color

“I assume this is part of Washington’s green strategy.” Inspector O rarely begins conversations so definitively. “It depends on what you mean by ‘this,’ ” I replied. We were in a hotel bar in Singapore. It was exceedingly dark, except for a small candle flickering in front of the only other person at the bar, a young woman with [...]

Inspector O and the O’Reilly Factor

Inspector O and the O’Reilly Factor

From time to time I meet an old friend, Inspector O of the Ministry of People's Security, in different locations around the world. O has some insights into what goes on in Pyongyang, but even more, provides a useful counterpoint to what is usually accepted as common wisdom about people and events in North Korea.  “You seem even more peckish [...]

The Man with the Baltic Stare

As summer approaches, 38 North eagerly awaits the release of the fourth novel in the Inspector O mystery series, due to hit bookshelves on August 17, 2010. The Man with the Baltic Stare takes Inspector O, a name that has become well known to North Korea watchers and mystery novel enthusiasts alike, to the city where his role was first concieved. [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.