Lydia Chin lives in Chinatown, New York City, with her mother. Her mother and brothers are forever shamed by and afraid for her. She decided to be a private investigator. Now, in her late twenties, she has been following this career for over five years, yet her family is no more accustomed or accepting than they were on the day she started the job.
She is approached by the local China Pride museum. They have had a theft. A widow had donated her husband's collection of exquisite porcelain. He had been a hermit before his death but had collected rare, precious pieces of this Chinese art form. Someone broke into the basement of the museum/family center and stole two crates from the collection. Nora, the curator and director, called Lydia to find the porcelain without calling in the police.
Gangs are a fact of life in Chinatown. Every business owner pays "lucky money" to keep trouble away. Lydia's first decision is to locate the dai lo (leader) of the Golden Dragons, the gang of this neighborhood to see if they knew how the crime had been committed. To her surprise, they didn't know anything had happened at all - a loss of face that Trouble, the dai lo, tries to hide.
So now Lydia and her sometimes partner, Bill Smith, have to track down unique, expensive porcelain. Their search takes them to the art historian that was cataloguing the porcelain, another museum that also carries porcelain, the Golden Dragons' rival gang, local businesses throughout Chinatown, and even a gay bar. The twists they follow lead them to an unexpected discovery.
China Trade is a fun mystery. By the end of the first page, the first person narrative had me entranced. Lydia is intelligent, strong, small, and very Chinese/American. Bill Smith is tall, big, and ex-military. Chinatown comes to life through Rozan's words. She portrays the culture well, and draws the reader into the scenery. This cozy mystery is worth the read.
|Lydia Chin and Bill Smith:||
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