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China Trade by S.J. Rozan
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China Trade (1994)

by S.J. Rozan

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261643,716 (3.63)28
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The first book in the Lydia Chin-Bill Smith series. A lot of fun, with a great dynamic between the main characters. I was instantly drawn to them, they're both not your typical hard-boiled PI types. Lydia can mostly handle herself, but she's a small Asian woman, and for once the main character isn't too proud to call in assistance where it's needed. Plus, unlike the typical loner PIs, her family plays a large and amusing role. And Bill, he's a large tough guy, but not macho or overbearing, he's actually very sweet and respectful and just the kind of guy you'd like to bring home to mom.

This was a very enjoyable first book and made me quite eager to go read more of Lydia & Bill! ( )
  PolymathicMonkey | Nov 17, 2013 |
Occasionally a bit overwritten for my taste, but an enjoyable read nevertheless. The ubiquity of pay phones and indoor smoking makes this feel like a story from another era, a bit quaint. Am I really old enough to remember 'another era'?! ( )
  kylenapoli | Feb 15, 2012 |
I really enjoyed this one. For one, after reading a slew of private investigator fic from Chandler's Marlowe to McDonald's McGee to Parker's Spenser, I was incredibly grateful for what Rozan's Lydia Chin was not. Yes, like many among her fictional brethren she has plenty of sass, and yes she can handle herself in a fight--but she's not someone who sleeps with clients or suspects or easily resorts to violence or breaks the law or lies to police (even if she doesn't tell all--but for once the reasons come across as credible)--nor is she Too Stupid To Live. This might sound like faint praise, but trust me, that alone makes Chin stand out in a good way in this subgenre.

Chin is also less isolated than the usual hard-boiled detective. She partners with Bill Smith, another private detective, she has a brother who makes me thankful to be an only child, a mother that drives her insane--and honest to goodness friends.

I also admit part of my enjoyment is that the novel is set in my hometown of New York City, and the author, herself a New York City native and resident, is good at conjuring up the city, from the world of Chinatown to the Upper West and East Side.

A fun, enjoyable novel I zipped through in one sitting, I'll certainly be reading more in the series. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Dec 3, 2010 |
This series is great! ( )
  helenthelibrarian | Feb 24, 2010 |
Mystery novel featuring Lydia Chin, private investigator.
Lydia is hired to find stolen porcelains taken from Chinatown Pride, a small museum located in Chinatown. Lydia enlists the aid of her partner, Bill Smith, to find the missing porcelains, and to avoid dragging the police into the investigation. Lydia finds the case involves more than stolen porcelain when two people are murdered and rival gangs become involved.
The relationship between Lydia and Bill is fascinating and unpredictable. He is not her "knight in shining armor", but instead, her sidekick; Sancho to her Don Quixote.
Wonderful mix of humor and action, a narrative that engages the reader. Well-turned plot and great dialogue.
(Read January 2002) ( )
  kepitcher | Aug 9, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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This one is as it always was for PRB
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I jumped a pothole in Canal Street as I dashed between honking cards and double-parked ones.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312955901, Mass Market Paperback)

It's a city within a city, of smells, sounds, dark shops, and close-knit families; it's a world all its own. And in all of New York's Chinatown, there is no one like P.I. Lydia Chin, who has a nose for trouble, a disapproving Chinese mother, and a partner named Bill Smith who's been living above a bar for sixteen years.

Hired to find some precious stolen porcelain, Lydia follows a trail of clues from highbrow art dealers into a world of Chinese gangs. Suddenly, this case has become as complex as her community itself--and as deadly as a killer on the loose...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:27 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hired to find some precious stolen porcelain, Lydia follows a trail of clues from highbrow art dealers into a world of Chinese gangs. Suddenly, this case has become as complex as her community itself--and as deadly as a killer on the loose. This novel features the mystery world's first Chinese-American female detective.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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