Moral courage

The price of courage: On Java Road, by Lawrence Osborne, reviewed

Lawrence Osborne’s novels are easy to admire. They tend to deal with characters trapped in morally questionable situations and their backdrops, from Macau to Greece, are often glamorous and exotic. Like any British novelist who deals with morality in foreign places, he gets compared with Graham Greene, but On Java Road, his sixth novel, owes much to Patricia Highsmith too. At its heart is a crime – the disappearance of a young woman in contemporary Hong Kong – but this, as much as anything, is a structural device on which to hang an examination of moral courage. What, Osborne asks, is required to protect democracy when doing so comes with