#1 Lydia Chin and Bill Smith mystery set in New York's Chinatown. Lydia Chin is a 20-something private investigator. She's also Chinese-American with a large family including a mother and several brothers who would like nothing better than for her to be a traditional woman--meaning to marry and learn her "place" and stop bringing disgrace to the family. But Lydia is not so inclined.
In this first entry in the series, a friend who runs a small Chinese museum called Chinese Pride hires her to find some porcelains that were recently donated to the museum by the widow of a collector--only two crates of the newest additions were stolen
from their basement. Because they don't want word to get out that they can't properly safeguard donations, they hire Lydia rather than contact the police. Lydia works with a sometime partner, another PI, "older white guy" Bill Smith, and she calls him in on this case. They seem to have a sort of semi-romantic relationship--Lydia is reluctant to get involved with him because of her family, and Bill obviously cares for Lydia but is content to just bide his time, at least for now.
They begin investigating this case by trying to hear of any word on the street and consulting other museums and some of Bill's contacts (read: fences) to try to locate the porcelains. A complicated tale involving rival museums/porcelain collectors, a ghost from Lydia's past, import-export dealers, the unsavory leaders of a couple of local Chinese gangs, and Lydia's best friend Mary, a police detective. Great first entry in the series!
This isn't really a 'cozy' mystery, but it isn't real hard-boiled either. I like Lydia and her independent spirit a lot. Bill is less well-fleshed in this book, but I understand that Rozan alternates between their two points of view in each book, so I'm assuming we'll get to know him better next time. (Interesting concept, by the way!) I liked the details about Chinese-American culture and values and the writing style was relaxed and easy to read. I'm impressed enough that I've already ordered books 2 and 3 from PBS.
Wonderful new detective. Rozan does such a good job with the Chinese detective Lydia Chin and Chinatown that I was amazed she is an Anglo. Good series, I'll be anxious to read the next one.
This is the first book in this series. These books by S,J,Rozan have so much substance that it really doesn't matter what order you read them in. I have read and enjoyed perhaps four in the series, before this one. This book does provide much depth in discussing the Chinese Community in New York City and the area that they live in. Through the use of Lydia's elderly mother, we learn much about the ways of Chinese families, both in the USA and China. Also how members relate to each other here and other relatives still in China. Like any small community the ways of those who work and reside there are known and the author develops this in her many books in this series. It is more than just a Mystery Book, but also a sociological study of the characters involved. A joy to read.
China Trade is a book that I heard about on NPR. It is the first book in a series written by S.J. Rozan, and tells the story of private detective Lydia Chin and her sometime partner Bill Smith, as they investigate the theft of valuable porcelains from a small China Town museum. The search leads them into the world of Chinese gangs, art dealers, and two murders. The book was not as well written, or as much of a page turner as my favorite police/mystery writer, Michael Connelly, whose Detective Bosh series always captures my interest from the very beginning. I found China Trade to be a slow starter, but I did enjoyed the ending, which I had not predicted. By the time I finished reading the book, I had decided that it was worth giving her second book in the series a try.