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LibraryThing Author:
Dinah Lee Küng

Dinah Lee Küng is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Member: DinahLeeKung

CollectionsYour library (5)


Tagsfemale sleuth (3), Hong Kong (3), Asian mystery (3), China mystery (3), romantic suspense (3), love triangle (3), historical mystery (3), detective fiction (3), thriller (2), romance (2) — see all tags

MediaBook (5), Paper Book (3), Ebook (2)

About meKung became a novelist after twenty years of reporting from Asia, mostly China and Hong Kong, for newspapers and magazines, including the Economist, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, BusinessWeek, and National Public Radio. She's married to a retired delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross. They live in Switzerland and have three adult children.

Her first domestic satire, A Visit From Voltaire, was nominated for the Orange Prize for fiction. It's a quirky autobiographical comedy in which the phantom of Voltaire haunts her farmhouse as she tries to settle into life in Switzerland.

A second literary novel, her "Geneva novel," Under Their Skin, is a sophisticated love story using the metaphor of surfaces, reflections, skin and scars, to examine what lies underneath appearances. The interplay between the instinctive art of a birthmarked violinist versus the precision and sterility of her doctor's laser clinic, and the determined workaholism of his wife at the World Health Organization in leprosy relief is raises uncomfortable questions about conventional morality and the meaning of marriage.

Kung's signature in all her fiction is an interweaving of East and West themes, placing domestic comedy or genre suspense in a in a well-researched historical or political context. Her stories are informed by a Catholic upbringing and a sensitivity to cross-cultural tensions with a mordant sense of humour that makes them highly readable

Her latest domestic comedy, Love and the Art of War, returns readers to the light domestic tone of A Visit From Voltaire; in London's leafy NW1, a middle-aged librarian joins an evening class of bumbling businessmen to study the wiles of the ancient Chinese warlords, with the aim of reconquering, not the corner office, but the love of her life.

Meanwhile, her first three mystery novels, published under the name D.L. Kung, were re-releaed in 2011, in both paperback and all e-formats. In suspenseful stories highlighting human rights abuses against a romantic subplot, The Handover Mysteries feature American journalist Claire Raymond caught in the undertow of China's emergence to regional dominance at the dawn of the 21st century.

Vol I The Wardens of Punyu:
Claire Raymond's naive new Business World colleague disappears without trace across the Hong Kong-China border on assignment in one of the mainland's "special economic zones." Claire's desperate search to rescue him leads through the free-for-all landscape of Guangdong's coastal export boom into the murky use of Communist prison labor camps to feed its illegal organ transplant trade. Only a few more years to go before Beijing takes control of the British colony and already China's transition to power reveals its dark, lawless side. And Claire's career may be reaching a crossroad now that she has met the dashing Swiss UN delegate Xavier Vonalp setting up operations in Hong Kong.

Vol II The End of May Road (previously published as Left in the Care Of):
Claire finds herself uncomfortably sidelined at home on maternity leave. A neighbor's son, Petey, is found dead along the exclusive May Road during Christmas week just six months before the handover of Hong Kong to China. A neurotic uncertainty pervades the colonial middle-class and mixes with a mounting religious hysteria among the mistreated Filipina housekeepers who slave for Cantonese and colonial households.
Claire fears for the safety of her own newborn, Caspar. The visit to Hong Kong of Xavier's ex-lover Fabienne adds to her tensions as she investigates Petey's suspicious death.

Vol III The Shadows of Shigatse:
China now has the upper hand and in the wake of 9/11, even enjoys an anti-terrorist alliance with the U.S. Xavier takes Claire to Tibet on his quest to locate an informer in his medical training project betraying Tibetans fleeing to Nepal. Pinpointing which of four suspects might be the deadly turncoat is hard enough, but on the eve of their departure from Hong Kong, Claire's ex-lover, CIA man Jim returns from the ether to beg a sensitive and secret favor.
Jim's father ran Khampa agents in a secret US operation against the Communist Chinese incursion during the late 50's and early 60's. His plane crashed in the Himalayas but no body was ever found at the site. Against her better judgment, Claire pursues this mystery behind Xavier's back in Lhasa. Before she knows it, she's smuggling a fugitive Tibetan freedom fighter to safety from Jim's deadly "discipline," and at the same time fighting to help Xavier, trapped by the informer on espionage charges, escape a ten-year sentence in Chinese prison. In a moving culmination to The Handover trilogy, Claire locates Jim's father—a symbolic finale to the end of American influence for and against the now-confident Beijing regime.

About my libraryMy library includes a vast collection of non-fiction books about China, India and Southeast Asia from my career as a foreign correspondent posted to Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing.

My fiction collection includes my parents' volumes of plays, including the complete works of Oscar Wilde and back issues of Theater Arts magazines, and anthologies of 19th century English poetry and prose, added to my complete collection of Anthony Trollope, Iris Murdoch, Robertson Davies, Robert VanGulik, dozens of paperback mysteries from the so-called "Golden Age," P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, Patrick O'Brian and Muriel Spark.

We also enjoy the collected letters of theater and political figures, such as the Letters of Martha Gelhorn or Noel Coward and biographies about newsmen, literary figures and political greats. Our two-hundred-old farmhouse included a room converted into a library where we shelve our American and European histories (we have a Cambridge-degree'd historian in the family) as well as books about the ancient world and music, (another Cambridge graduate is a violinist and conductor.)
My husband reads in German and has the complete editions from the Swiss-German house Diogenes, as well as a library on the Middle East where he spent some thirty years for the International Committee of the Red Cross and (a subject of some discussion) forty years's worth of National Geographics.



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URLs /profile/DinahLeeKung (profile)
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Member sinceJun 8, 2011

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