China Trade

S. J. Rozan, Author
S. J. Rozan, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-312-11254-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 275 pages - 978-0-312-95590-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7927-4971-4
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Rozan's debut novel, focusing both on china, the porcelain, and on the homeland of many inhabitants of New York City's Chinatown, introduces likable Asian-American PI, Lydia Chin. Lydia, hired by the Chinatown Pride museum to recover stolen antique porcelains, confronts the leaders of rival Chinatown gangs in hopes of flushing out the robbers. With information gleaned from a meek scholar who habitually steals tiny porcelains from prominent collections, Lydia discovers an antiquities-laundering business that crosses all socioeconomic strata. Her sidekick, full-time sleuth Bill Smith, provides an element of sexual tension; the resolution hinges on a silly scheme in which Lydia sets herself up to be attacked by a hit man and rescued by her cooperative NYPD pals. Rozan shows a knack for characterizing Chinatown's denizens, apothecaries, shops and food, but her story has more flavor than substance. (Oct.)
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