Sunday, March 22, 2015
Chin Yong-Yun Meets A Ghost, by S.J. Rozan
My buddy S.J. Rozan does her best work in the first person. She started out writing stories about New York private eye Bill Smith. When she switched to novels she added Smith's occasional partner Lydia Chin. Now there is a third voice in that universe. This is the second story told by Lydia's formidable mother.
And what a wonderful voice Mrs. Chin has. "The other ladies agreed with me, as they often do, because I am usually right."
The lady is making dinner when she gets a phone call from Gerald Yu. This is annoying for three reasons. First, Yu is a gambler and not very bright. Second, he wants to involve daughter Lydia in his troubles. And third, he happens to be dead.
"It's about my death, but it's not vengeance I'm after. Also, it's not really about my death, because I'm not dead."
"Who told you that? They're lying."
I almost wrote that Chin seems confused about whether Yu is alive or a ghost, but that would be precisely wrong. She is completely unconcerned about the question, and seems to find the two conditions fluid.
So she decides to solve Yu's puzzle to keep her daughter from getting involved. Her daughter disapproves of her doing detective work.
"Why?" I asked her quite innocently. "Is it dangerous?"
Try to think of a way Lydia could answer that one.
Wonderful, character, wonderful story.