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The Feng Shui Detective

(Feng Shui Detective #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  556 ratings  ·  98 reviews
"Mr. Wong is a feng shui consultant, but his cases tend to involve a lot more than just interior decoration. You see, Wong specializes in a certain type of problem premises: crime scenes." Wong and his brash teenaged Aussie-American intern make a strange pair indeed as they travel around Singapore solving crimes while trying to decipher each other's language and behavior. ...more
ebook, The Feng Shui Detective Series
Published November 9th 2009 by Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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Grace Tjan
With apologies to native Singlish speakers.

Ah Lian (AL): "So, what you got with you hah?"

Ah Beng (AB): "A book."

AL: "Aiyaa, it's got kaya on it. You been reading it at the kopitiam, issit. No good- lah. Must not read books while makan. Must respect books."

AB: "Nevermind-lah."

AL: "Where got?"

AB: "At Borders."

AL: "You bought it? Usually you so kiasu. Only want to read books in the store."

AB: "No-lah. Only when I boh lui. Yesterday I got salary. So can buy buy. Besides the story is set in
Oct 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you begin this novel, it may be tempting to dismiss it - a mistake I almost made. Give it a few more pages and you'll hopefully be hooked - as I was. CF Wong is a simple man, ostensibly retired, but busy with his feng shui business which he hopes will bring in some extra income. He is saddled with a very disagreeable secretary who refuses to work (yet who's made herself irreplaceable due to a complicated filing system only she can understand) and an eager yet unwanted young intern named Joyce ...more
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: Cozy Mystery Apr 2010 "Around the House"
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This book has to be one of the most novel sleuthing teams I've ever read. CF Wong is the older, Chinese, feng shui master who specializes in crime scenes. He is paired with a young, Australian girl who has been foisted upon him as an intern. The age and culture clashes add quite a bit of humor to the story, such as CF writing that he eventually figures out that "whatever" means yes and "as if" means no.

The setting, Singapore, is also somewhat unique and provides a good background of eastern and
Fiona Brichaut
I picked this up cheap and was ready to dismiss it as a light and silly read. It's light, yes, but also well written, charming, entertaining and funny. I love the pairing of the 50+ Chinese feng shui detective and the 17-year old American girl, especially as he struggles to pick up new English phrases and to follow her colloquialisms and her phone conversations with friends ("I was like.. and he was like ... Whatever!..."). Delightful.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A light, fast read. I was a bit disappointed at first that it is actually a collection of short stories when I was expecting a novel, but they're pleasant enough, if a bit derivative. This book is sort of Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri, with his fractured "Asian English", meets Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe with her knowledge of human nature; plus a good sprinkling of "aphorisms" along the lines of the old Kung Fu TV series--except the student is adressed as Blade of Grass instead of ...more
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lover looking for a light reading.
I really enjoyed this book :D It's actually a collection of 9 stories, each an interesting mystery ranging from murder to missing money. I was looking for something short to read, so this perfect the bill as I could read one story each night.

While each story has its own charm and character, the stories were not written as pure murder mystery; few of the stories doesn't really give you enough hints or clues so that you'd be able to solve the mystery yourself. But all the solution was ingenious,
A light read. Too light, maybe. Many wrong malay words and expressions. The redeeming factor is the start of each stories.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Master Wong mystery. The long suffering Feng Shui practitioner tries to sort out the modern world with his Australian intern, Joyce McQuinnie, who speaks "teenager" and is barely comprehensible to the detective. Add to this a secretary, Winnie Lim, who refuses to work but who developed a file system only she understands. And then there is the Singapore Union of Industrial Mystics, a self-admiration dinning society composed of Madame Xu and Dilip Siuha. While not exactly ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: An article about cozy mysteries set in Singapore
This was more of a series of short stories than a novel. Each one featured Mr. Wong and his assistant Jo, plus there were occasional reoccurring characters. But each chapter was its own little mystery involving a different client. I actually was entertained enough to give it a cozy mystery five stars, but had to take a star off because most of the mysteries were solved by Mr Wong by activities that happened off page & the reader is unable to solve the mystery.

Also note, the copy I had there
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light weight but sort of fun cultural detective stories set in SEA. The feng shui master uses as much western logical deduction as feng shui to solve situations that often do not begin as mysteries. The stories reminded me of the "Chinese" Judge Dee stories. Might read some more of this series.
Derelict Space Sheep
This collection of short stories begins with a shout-out to Arthur Conan Doyle, and justly so; Vittachi crafts mysteries that are mostly about setting and character. Feng shui master C.F. Wong and his assistant (17-year-old westerner, Joyce) form a memorable cross-cultural duo.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read, but some of the stories are a bit thin.
Frances Sanders
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A light very enjoyable read. Loved the serialised chapters which allowed me to finish a complete story in one sitting. ...more
Kat Ashworth
Fun and colourful storyline where the main characters of the series get to know one another, bound together by curious mysteries.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, abandoned
Completely incomprehensible
P.L. Winn
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely marvelous.
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, 2015
I don't know. It was kinda cute, a bit silly, but very confusing. The story jumped around a lot and there were a lot of names to remember. As the story unfolded, I realized that what seemed like a lot of unrelated plotlines were actually related... but even towards the end, I was having a hard time figuring out exactly HOW. Same thing goes for the characters... they were actually all more related to one another than it seemed, at first. And yet, because I had a hard time keeping them all ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
c.F. Wong is a feng shui expert who companies around Asia call on to help with problems. He is assisted by Joyce Mcquinnie, a European teenager who is doing work experience in Mr Wong's office. This is a detective-in-another-country book with a difference - every chapter is a different mystery. in fact it feels a bit like those five minute mysteries I read as a kid, and sometimes the mystery is solved as implausibly.

But the mysteries and crimes are almost secondary to the cross cultural
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: senior-year-hs
This book was not exactly what I expected in that rather than one continuous storyline, each chapter is a small standalone mystery in and of itself. This is not a bad thing at all and in fact I found this book to be extremely enjoyable. I felt as though its events sort of occurred in episodes, like a television show, which was cool. In fact, one of the quotes under "Praise for Nury Vittachi and The Feng Shui Detective books" is from The Australian and it says, "If Hollywood wakes up..." Yes! I ...more
nice book with quaint mysteries. I enjoyed getting a flavor of the different cultures.
Heidi Hoelscher
Pros: interesting characters and an interesting take on sleuthing characters
Cons: not very exciting to read, clues come up at random having never been mentioned until they're relevant to being immediately useful

Full review:
An interesting take on a mystery novel, but a good portion of the beginning of the book only talked about feng shui and then it suddenly jumped to "oh yeah we've been working with the police this whole time" as a way to lend character background without having to actually tell
R.J. Murphy
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Singapore office of C.F. Wong & Associates are dominated by Winnie the incompetent receptionist, and Joyce the teenaged Aussie assistant, who was forced on Mr. Wong by his main client. Mr. Wong is a Feng Shui consultant who would like nothing better than to sit in his office working on the book of oriental wisdom he has been writing for the last several years but somehow life keeps interrupting him. Mr. Wong is currently trying to stop the haunting of a dentist's office, find a young ...more
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I picked this book up because I have read the author's column, "Traveller's Tales", in the Far Eastern Economic Review many times with great pleasure. As a humorist he does not disappoint and this book is further proof of it.

It is a detective story, but it is also a good 'clash of cultures" story. The author (I believe this is the first in the series) introduces a set of unusual and interesting characters. Are they stereotypes? Not exactly, but several of them do fit the mold of specific
Katharine Ott
"The Feng Shui Detective" - written by Nury Vittachi and published in 2002 by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St Martin's Press. Despite the fairly mundane and far-fetched mysteries solved by feng shui consultant C F Wong, I enjoyed his character quite a bit and even more so the evaluations during the course of his investigations of people and places according to feng shui principles. "Many feng shui advice is like common sense....feng shui is about attitude. About taking control." Wong teams ...more
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who would have guessed there was such a thing?! A very funny read. I particularly loved his reactions to his unwanted Western female assistant.
"She laughed like a braying donkey while on the phone to her friends. Her squeals were so loud they could be heard by his friends while he was on the phone to them and he feared they would think he had moved his office to a slaughterhouse".
And this:
"Talking to Joyce was exhausting. He knew that some adult men were attracted to young women, but had they
Dina P.
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Nury Vittachi. His articles in Reader's Digest are always funny and full with Asian cultures. So very Asian. Then I saw this book at Periplus, and I thought Vittachi's book must be equally good. And I'm not dissapointed.

This book is actually a collection of short stories, with Mr. Wong, an elderly feng shui master and Joyce McQuinnie, his Australian teenager assistant, as the protagonist. Their story usually started in an feng shui reading, which lead to cases or mysteries, which they
Bronwyn Hegarty
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.F Wong is the geomancer practising Feng Shui to solve problems for people. During his work a few corpses appear or he is asked to find out why people become ill or die as a result of bad feng shui in buildings or homes. This is an eclectic collection of stories that develop over time so need to be read in order. They are light and easy to read but deal with intense life events. I really like the interactions between C.F. Wong and Joyce his 17 year old American assistant on work ...more
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had saw this book and was immediately drawn to it. Yes, I judged a book by its cover. I love the lucky cat that was on the cover. So I picked it up and decided I would read it. At first, I got discouraged and thought it was boring, but after reading reviews, I decided to give it another try. So glad I did! The reviews are right, the beginning is a little slow, but you won't regret it if you keep reading. This book is very witty and has a lot of comedy for a mystery book. That really reels you ...more
Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The setting is Singapore. The protagonist (Mr. C. F. Wong) is a feng shui master who specializes in crime scenes. His sidekick is an American-Australian teenager who is as lost in the Chinese culture as Mr. Wong is in her Westernized cultures. Yet the two of them work together to solve several crimes. There are some wacky other characters who populate the book and lend themselves to the quirkiness of it all. Fun, delightful read. I hope there are more books to come as these characters are ...more
Jun 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE the series. It is so funny! I can actually picture the community in Singapore speaking in Singlish and various dialect. True to have this picture in your mind you may need to have been to Singapore but regardless of those knowledge the Feng Shui Detective is a good addition for people who love travel, mystery, and humor. The Writer Himself is amazing person. Very down to earth and have a wicked sense of humor don't believe me? try to read his blog "The Curious Diary of Mr Jam" ...more
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Nury Vittachi is a journalist and author based in Hong Kong. His columns are published daily, weekly in a variety of newspapers in Asia as well as on his website. He is best known for the comedy-crime novel series The Feng Shui Detective, published in many languages around the world, but he has also written non-fiction works and novels for children. He is also noted for his role in founding the ...more

Other books in the series

Feng Shui Detective (5 books)
  • Detektif Feng Shui 2: Petualangan ke Selatan
  • The Feng Shui Detective's Casebook
  • The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics
  • Mr Wong Goes West

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“Tambi’s expression changed again, this time to one of a humble supplicant. ‘I am not asking much,’ he said. ‘Only a miracle. Can you do this?’
Wong looked down at the briefing papers in front of him for a moment. Then he looked Tambi in the eye. ‘Miracles we have fifteen per cent extra surcharge. Is it okay?”
“Not for the first time, Joyce lamented the lack of irony in conversations in Asia.” 0 likes
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