Linda's Reviews > The Shanghai Moon

The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan
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's review
Jul 14, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 1940s, 1930s, contemporary, china, private-investigator, mystery, new-york, favorite-characters
Read in August, 2009

What great fun this was! My favorite kind of mystery: ordinary people doing things both extraordinarily good and evil, and the reader is brought along as the protagonist tries to find out who did what, and why.

Lydia Chin, on the outs with Bill Smith, is brought into a case by her colleague and former mentor, Joel Pilarksy. Joel was hired by a Holocaust assets recovery specialist lawyer to investigate any leads on jewelry stolen from an excavation in China by a Chinese official, who fled to New York with the jewels. The excavation had revealed some European jewelry from World War II, and was determined to have belonged to an Austrian refugee. China had provided haven to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution when most other countries were refusing them entry. Things get murky quickly: Lydia discovers that the The Shanghai Moon, an infamous missing jewel, was supposed to be part of the stash. Then a man is killed, and Bill gets drawn into the case as well, and he and Lydia try to figure out the truth, catch the murderer, and find the Shanghai Moon.

As always, Lydia Chin is a delight. Her relationship with her mother is funny and touching, as are her relationships with her partner Bill Smith and her police detective friend Mary Kee. Her cousin, Armpit, steals the scene on several occasions, and provides some comic relief. Throughout all, the dialog is brisk and authentic.

It can always be a little dicey to weave a historical mystery into a contemporary plot. A lot of authors just plunk bits of the historical section between sections of the contemporary story, and I just want to get back to the characters I care about. But Rozan pulls this off brilliantly: we're drawn into the chase for information, and because Lydia grows to care about these characters, the reader does, too.

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Reading Progress

08/09/2009 page 49
13.14% "LOVING this. Lydia Chin, how I've missed you, and especially your mother!"

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