Friday, February 12, 2010

"Reflecting the Sky"

Hong Kong is full of mysteries. In S.J. Rozan's novel Reflecting the Sky, detective Lydia Chin and her partner Bill Smith arrived from New York and within hours were in the midst of a kidnapping case. Before they had a moment's rest they were chasing perps and clues through the colorful streets, back-alleys, outer islands, temples to local gods, night markets, food stalls, high-rise hotels, luxury apartment buildings, modern shopping centers, seedy waterfront businesses, ferry boats crossing the water, film studios, and old colonial homes. They rode the famous mile-long escalator up the mountain. On Hollywood Road, among the internationally know antique shops, they tried to get information about an international triad (or gang) whose smuggling activities might be part of their case.

Bill and Lydia worked with a Hong Kong police officer who grew up in Alabama. A few times, they ate street food like skewered squid with vegetables or delicious meals in a local restaurant. Other times Lydia put up with instant noodles or other convenience food in the police station.

I loved every suspenseful minute of this adventure. Above all, I was captivated because I was in Hong Kong myself at about the same time. One Sunday, we walked into the financial center with its ultra modern sky scrapers and were astonished to find thousands of Filipino nannies sitting on benches, blankets, and folding chairs in groups, talking, eating, giving each other manicures, dancing, listening to boom boxes, and otherwise socializing. In the story, Lydia Chin and Bill Smith visited exactly this meeting place to search for a possible connection in their kidnapping case -- Bill was fortunately fluent in Tagalog so he could get information.

The description of these women, in Lydia's first-person account, made me think of our walk:
And mostly, they were eating. The aromas of roast meats and sauces pungent with unfamiliar spices made my mouth water, and as I watched plastic containers being popped open and paper plates being passed I wondered how many breakfasts I could really eat. (p. 156)
Even the plastic boxes of food being shared by these women on their day off reminded me of my own experience. I visited many of the other locations described in the story, especially a couple of out islands. Here are my photos from a fishing village at the far side of the territory:

Fruit and vegetables at Stanley Market:

For my review of another Lydia Chin mystery see "A Bitter Feast".

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Clapping my hands with joy over finding another detective to savor! Thanks.