25.8.09

Murder she wrote...

Its been a long time since I have read a good detective novel. The last ones I remember had too little storyline and more fluff than required. So it was nice to lay my hands on S.J.Rozan's LydiaChin and Bill Smith novels.

The pace is fast, the character sketches are very good and the conversations are excellent. The narrative is first person and is voiced by NYC chinatown PI Lydia Chin. The banter between the two protagonists is quite unlike Watson and Holmes. There is a slight memory of Remington Steele here, only Bill is the more experienced and Lydia is the more active of the duo. By habit, I avoid first person narratives. I haven't read a lot of good one's, I suppose. But Lydia is a great character. Somewhere in the family-bound, confused second generation Chinese twenty-something, I probably see shades of my friends and myself. Its reassuring to see detectives who are all too human, who make mistakes and don't stumble into coincidental success. The books so far have been typical masala,potboiler scenarios and highly enjoyable because they don't tend to take themselves seriously.

That said, there is of course the usual amount of luck involved and some scenarios can be far fetched. Reflecting the sky is set in Hong Kong and imagine her surprise when she finds a friend of the family who is not only her age and single but also a cop in the HKPD. How lucky!

Reflecting the Sky and Shanghai Moon are the two books I have read so far. Hoping to pick some more up. Definitely recommended. I am not sure if there is a book rating scale, lets call it PWs for now. So on a scale of 10, 6.5 PWs.

p.s PW is of course P.G.Wodehouse who rates 1/0 on a scale of 10, but that is for later.