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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kathryn on 07-17-09
Don't pass up this one!
This should come with warnings.
1. Don't listen while driving. May cause you to drive miles past your intended destination, and not even care.
2. Don't listen while cooking, if this can not be avoided, please set timers.
3. Don't listen while knitting, unless you are very good at tinking. (un-knitting your mistakes)
4. Don't listen while trying to drift off to sleep at night, if you need to get up early, and have a cranky boss.
5. Do listen while pulling weeds. You will probably be able to pull weeds for hours and not even realize you are still toiling in the dirt after the sun has gone down.
You will find yourself swept away to war torn China by way of New York's own Chinatown and a beautiful mystery spanning generations. It has enough twist, turns and surprises to keep you hanging on til the last word is spoken. The writing is amazing, and beautiful, and the story telling is engaging.
This is the best read/listen I have had in some time. Now I must go tink all the knitting I have done since I started the book. Don't know how I messed up so bad and didn't even notice until the book was over.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By MidwestGeek on 07-05-12
Good history; marred narration; implausible story.
This was my first exposure to the Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series, but I gather this is the 9th in the series and one of the most widely read and highly rated. I found interesting to learn about the 20K European Jews who emigrated to Shanghai before or during WWII. I felt that the target audience of the book might be young adults. The dialogue between Bill and Lydia is almost childish. Lydia's language almost sounds like a Valley girl. This is reinforced by the narrator, who makes Lydia sound like she's about 16 years old, when in fact she must be going on 30. In some ways, Lydia's mother is a more fully developed and interesting character than Lydia herself. The NYPD detective and childhood friend Mary acts so hostile and peculiarly toward Lydia, her bosom pal, that their relationship seems quite immature, even though it is intended to show great concern. Also, with the resources of the NYPD at her disposal, why doesn't Mary ever follow up on a clue and respect Lydia's suggestions, even when speculative?
The plot is intricate and becomes extremely complex. Then, at the end, there are a number of rather implausible twists that a reader could not possibly have anticipated. A really good mystery is one in which essential facts are not withheld and in which clues are dropped throughout the story which, in retrospect at least, might have pointed to the solution. I recognize that this series has its enthusiasts, and, if this were a first novel, I would say it is a hopeful debut. As it is, I have no interest in reading any others in this series and would not recommend this book to my friends.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful