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Mandarin Plaid (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #3)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  643 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
It's a long way from the cramped, dreary sweatshops where Lydia Chin's mother once sewed for the heady world of fashion. But in New York City, worlds collide. And a petite, Chinese-American P.I. can still rub shoulders with the rich, the poor, the beautiful, and the depraved.

Elegant, porcelain-skinned Genna Jing is sure her latest designs are worth a fortune. That's why s
Mass Market Paperback, 275 pages
Published August 15th 1997 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1996)
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Lukasz Pruski
May 25, 2017 Lukasz Pruski rated it it was ok
"[...] I am not usually strolling through here with fifty thousand dollars, looking for the right trash can to drop it in."

Now a disappointment from S.J. Rozan: I could not get into Mandarin Plaid (1996) and had to work hard to finish reading. Neither is the story particularly interesting nor are the protagonists - who were so refreshingly different than the usual crime drama clichés in my first contact with Ms. Rozan’s work in Winter and Night - fascinating any more. I have not even been able
Feb 10, 2014 Hobart rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
As much as I enjoyed Concourse , Mandarin Plaid reminded me of the problems I had with it -- namely, it didn't have enough Lydia Chin. We're back to Lydia as narrator, and her carrying a lot more of the investigative and sleuthing burden. Which leads to a more interesting and satisfying read.

Once again, it's one of Lydia's brothers that brings her the client -- and then tries to get her off the case -- which starts off pretty simply, Lydia making a money drop to retrieve some stolen property. L
Katherine Clark
Feb 04, 2016 Katherine Clark rated it liked it
This is the third book in the series. This was told from Lydia's POV. I really like Lydia. I dint like this novel as much as I've liked previous ones, and that is OK. The plot got overly complicated and a subplot with a police officer who hated Bill that was never quite fully explained kind of took some energy away. I did like the discussions of class, and some good feminist messaging. I still have a funny feeling about the relationship between Billy and Lydia; funny feeling is a bad term for it ...more
Mar 25, 2017 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, read-2017
I haven't sought out each new volume in this series, but I find myself enjoying each one. This is the third of Rozan's mysteries featuring Lydia Chin and Bill Smith, and the second narrated by Lydia. Once I started this book, I found it tough to put down and very easy to pick back up. The setting is well drawn, the characters are nicely depicted, and Lydia's juggling of various aspects of her life make her a very appealing character. The plot has enough twists to keep me guessing, while giving m ...more
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Julie Davis
Oct 06, 2016 Julie Davis rated it liked it
Not as good as the first Lydia Chin but still very enjoyable and worth reading.
Sep 01, 2009 Spuddie rated it it was amazing
#3 Lydia Chin/Bill Smith mystery series set in New York. This series alternates between Lydia and Bill's point of view, and this is a "Lydia" book. Hired to make a ransom drop--$50,000 for the return of some sketches of exclusive clothing design items for her client Genna Jing's upcoming line called Mandarin Plaid--Lydia is shot at just after the drop takes place and the money disappears. A call to Genna shortly afterwards indicates that it was not the sketch thief who got the money, and Lydia f ...more
Rozan, S.J. - 3rd in Smith/Chin series

Lydia Chin, a Chinese-American P.I. who lives in New York City's Chinatown, is hired for a simple job. She's to deliver the ransom for a set of stolen sketches that comprise the inaugural collection of fashion designer Genna Jing and her new label, Mandarin Plaid. But everything on this simple job goes terribly wrong. The ransom is stolen out from under Lydia, her sometimes partner, Bill Smith, is arrested, and just as she is trying to sor
Kathleen Hagen
Mandarin Plaid, by S. J. Rozan, b-plus. Narrated by Cindy Cheung, produced by BBC audio books America, downloaded from

Publisher’s note:
Lydia Chin, a Chinese-American P.I. who lives in New York City's Chinatown, is hired for a simple job. She's to deliver the ransom for a set of stolen
sketches that comprise the inaugural collection of fashion designer Genna Jing and her new label, Mandarin Plaid. But everything on this simple job goes
terribly wrong. The ransom is stolen out from unde
Sep 17, 2009 Lynne-marie rated it really liked it
Once again, Lydia's multiplicity of connections within Chinatown complicates what seems to be a simple case. And, this time her Third Brother Andrew is involved and worried about her to boot. Genna Jing, a would-be rising dress designer, the founder of the company of the book title, has had her debut dress designs stolen a week before Designer Week in NYC. Lydia is hired to may the pay-off (and Bill, by his how election gets involved), but bullets start spraying and the money disappears to the f ...more
Brenda Mengeling
Dec 22, 2011 Brenda Mengeling rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries, fiction, 48
Mandarin Plaid is the third book in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series of mysteries by S.J. Rozan. I really enjoy this series, especially the ones narrated by Lydia, as this one is, but it was funny how dated it already was having been written in 1996. Lydia and Bill have no cell phones, not even beepers; much of the plot depended upon them not being able to get in touch with each other easily as they explored different aspects of their case. The story would have to be changed pretty substantially ...more
Deb Oestreicher
Jun 10, 2012 Deb Oestreicher rated it really liked it
Lydia Chin is asked to investigate when the new season's designs are "kidnapped" from an up-and-coming Chinese-American fashion designer, who happens to be the boss of a friend of one of Lydia's brothers. (This is a running theme in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith novels: through her network of Chinese-American family and friends, Lydia is connected to just about every business.)

A simple ransom payment goes awry, and Lydia and Bill have their hands full chasing red herrings and as they try to figure o
Oct 24, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it
Things I really like about this book and this series: the characters of Lydia and Bill and their professional/personal relationship; the way that lower Manhattan is such a vivid part of the stories - almost a character itself; Lydia's frustrating but mostly loving relationships with her family - her perpetually disapproving mother and her brothers who are alternately protective and nagging; the insights into the complexities of the Chinese immigrant experience.

The writing is terrific, there is w
Jun 02, 2014 Michael rated it liked it
This book made me realize something about myself: I have very little patience for stubbornness as a character flaw in protagonists. It drives me crazy. Is it because I myself am stubborn, and don't like looking in a mirror? Or is it because it's a lazy plot device ("JUST CALL YOUR BROTHER WHO HAS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOU, STOP BEING SO STUBBORN")? Either way, it bothers me. (My primary criticism of The Hunger Games is the same!)

Still, overall enjoyable, and I'm definitely on board for the s
Aug 25, 2009 Babette rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The pattern is holding - Rozan has Lydia Chin as the narrator for the odd books in the series and Bill Smith as the narrator for the even books in the series.

This book was my least favorite of the first three. I am growing tired of Lydia's mother and her meddling and old-fashioned ways. This book also had a lot of details in it that were a bit far-fetched: too many connections that didn't seem realistic.

I picked up the next book in the series last night and read the synopis on the back cover - t
Jun 26, 2012 Patti rated it really liked it
I read this book as a recommended book on a list for mystery writers. Her characters, Smith and Chin blend so well together. I'm not really into things Chinese, but it held my interest. I wasn't sure who the bad guy was until the very end. I gave this book 4 stars because it was so well written and interwoven. I felt that I was walking the streets of Chinatown at times.
I really like SJ Rozan's book and I hope she keeps writing about Smith/Chin.
Feb 19, 2009 Rita rated it liked it
Very fun detective story. Nice glimpses of first and second generation Chinese in Chinatown Manhattan, emphasizing they don't all speak the same language. Good take on how people react differently to people depending on their appearance, too. Likeable detective and her associate.
Did Carolyn pick out this book and give it to Karin? [I read it at Karin's place while babysitting, that is while Ryan was napping.:]
Aug 05, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
For all of Rozan's books so far: I like Rozan's writing. She describes a series of worlds in New York that I would not encounter (and mostly don't want to encounter) otherwise. I like her alternating viewpoints from book to book, and am impressed that she keeps them so different and consistent. The mysteries are good, the relationship is interesting, and the writing has moments of beauty. Nice, and relatively quick.
Dec 23, 2013 William rated it it was ok
The chief character being a chinese women PI in New York had some different interest. The plot was reasonably developed but kind of weakly resolved at the end. Not real satisfactory. I think the author could have done better. I have not read anything else by this writer so I don't know if her early books with this character were better. Somehow, I suspect so, but I will not likely find out for myself given my weak appreciation of this effort.
May 29, 2014 Jan rated it it was amazing
Great series...the audiobook version I "read" was as awesome as the previous one I enjoyed. A lot of older mysteries seem to lose their edge over time, but this one didn't feel "dated". The characters engaging and the author left me interested in wanting to know more (read another book...) but provided enough depth so they had genuine life. The plot was very good...the kind where I guessed enough to satisfy but still got surprised at the close!
Mar 07, 2013 LizH rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
This was a 3.5 for me, but I upped it to four since we can't do 1/2 stars. This series keeps getting better and better. Liked the mystery in this one, kept me guessing til the end. This one is from Lydia's point of view, and it was good to be with her, but looking forward to the next one with Bill's p.o.v.
Vannessa Anderson
May 01, 2010 Vannessa Anderson rated it really liked it
What I like about S. J. Rozan’s writing is she knows how to spin a story while tugging at your emotions while teaching us Chinese’s customs.

Lydia Chin, along with her partner and want to be lover, Bill Smith are searching for the culprits who are trying to keep a young rising designer from having her show. It appeared to be a shut and close case until someone is killed.
Apr 10, 2009 WK rated it really liked it
I wish they had half stars - cause this was really a 3 1/2 to me. The characters are likable enough but the plot was a bit see-through and I definitely though the sister deserved being included among the loose ends tied up at the end. Worth the read - yes, but I'm not running out to get another in the series, that's not saying I will never read another.
Catherine Woodman
Lydia Chin and Bill Smith are a likable team--this is an early installment in the series, which gets better as it goes along, but this is a very enjoyable book, with good twist and turns (and some unnecessary ones). Genna is a fashion designer and her work is being sabotaged at every turn. She enlists the aid of PI's and things actually get worse at that point. Read and find out more.
Sep 12, 2013 Peggy rated it really liked it
I listened to this as an audiobook. This is the second S.J. Rozan book I have read. I enjoyed it. The story is fast moving and I like the two main characters, Lydia Chinn and Bill Smith. An up and coming fashion designer hires Lydia and Bill to pay ransom money for her stolen designs. But things do not go as planned and murder complicates things.
Jul 20, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the Lydia Chin and Bill Smith series and is mostly set in Chinatown in NYC. A friend of Lydia is breaking into the fashion industry in a big way until her designs are stolen and held for ransom. Lydia is called in to investigate and extortion turns to murder and kidnapping. I give it ★★★★ 's
Oct 15, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This is the third book in the Lydia Chin and Bill Smith series and is mostly set in Chinatown in NYC. A friend of Lydia is breaking into the fashion industry in a big way until her designs are stolen and held for ransom. Lydia is called in to investigate and extortion turns to murder and kidnapping. I give it ★★★★ 's
Apr 13, 2014 Joy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one almost as much as I enjoyed the first in the series that I read. The plot was sufficiently complicated that I didn't figure it out immediately, but not so complicated it wouldn't count as a beach read. I wholly enjoy the sense of place that the author is able to create. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
Sep 14, 2011 Jill rated it liked it
Its been a while since I've picked a book by this author but since I did. I thought this book was a pretty good read. I liked the dynamics between the two PIs Bill Smith and Lydia Chin. The simplicity of the cases they solve.
Nov 04, 2013 Brucie rated it really liked it
Another thrilling story from the cases of Lydia Chin and Bill Smith. Interesting blend of investigative style, ethnic culture, work and romance, family and individual personality, in a presentation that takes the reader into the time and place.
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SJ Rozan, a native New Yorker, is the author of the Bill Smith and Lydia Chin detective series as well as several stand-alone novels. She has won the the Edgar, Nero, Macavity, Shamus and Anthony awards for Best Novel and the Edgar award for Best Short Story. She is a former Mystery Writers of America National Board member, a current Sisters in Crime National Board member, and President of the Pri ...more
More about S.J. Rozan...

Other Books in the Series

Lydia Chin & Bill Smith (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • China Trade (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #1)
  • Concourse (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #2)
  • No Colder Place (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #4)
  • A Bitter Feast (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #5)
  • Stone Quarry (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #6)
  • Reflecting the Sky (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #7)
  • Winter And Night (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #8)
  • The Shanghai Moon (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #9)
  • On the Line (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #10)
  • Ghost Hero (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith, #11)

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