Thursday, January 29, 2009


Just back in New York having spent a month in California for a relative's wedding, Lydia Chin is put on the trail of a storied brooch by her P.I. friend, Joel Pilarsky. Their client is Alice Fairchild, a specialist in the recovery of Holocaust antiquities, who claims to work for heirs of the brooch's owner. When Pilarsky is murdered shortly after leaving a message for Lydia, she must pick up the trail with Bill Smith, four months estranged from Lydia after their last case (Winter and Night).

I don't know if Rozan intended her first book with Chin and Smith in seven years to be a "big" book. This is certainly their most complex and sprawling case. There are letters in translation from the viewpoint of the brooch's last known owner, diaries from another viewpoint translated from Chinese, stories recounted from memory—yet Lydia, Bill, and friends are as present as ever, too.

Part of me wanted to believe it had only been four months, but the rest knew that 9/11 intervened and for a time Rozan found herself unable to write about Lydia and Bill. This context makes The Shanghai Moon all the more remarkable and resonant.

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