Left in the Care of
An intimate view of the lives of Hong Kong's ordinary (as opposed to rich and powerful) foreigners caught up in the recent changeover gives a sharp edge to this first mystery by a journalist who spent many years there. Kung's story mixes the fears of a new mother about her baby and her relationship with its father (they're not married) with the exotic politics and practices of a city in turmoil, capturing the large by focusing on the small. Claire Raymond, anxious to get back to her job as a writer for an American business magazine, is looking for a nurse to mind her six-week-old son, Caspar. Suddenly, her comfortable apartment enclave is shattered by the mysterious death of one little boy and the kidnapping of another. Are the events tied to a quasi-religious cult growing up among the exploited Filipina amahs, the nannies who leave their own children behind to look after foreign youngsters? Have declining standards in the Hong Kong police department let a dangerous sex offender into their ranks? With the help of a Scottish priest, Claire starts an investigation of her own--hindered by threats to her son's safety and to the delicate balance of her future with the Swiss diplomat who fathered the boy but still hasn't proposed marriage. Kung delivers a touching story enriched by its strong Hong Kong atmosphere. (Dec.) FYI: Kung's novel was developed under the Mystery Writers of America's Mentor Program.