As much as I enjoyed Concourse, Mandarin Plaid reminded me of the problems I had with it — namely, it didn’t have enough Lydia Chin. We’re back to Lydia as narrator, and her carrying a lot more of the investigative and sleuthing burden. Which leads to a more interesting and satisfying read.
Once again, it’s one of Lydia’s brothers that brings her the client — and then tries to get her off the case — which starts off pretty simply, Lydia making a money drop to retrieve some stolen property. Lydia’s Chinatown connections prove invaluable to her sussing things out when the ransom drop doesn’t go according to plan.
Not that her partner, Bill Smith doesn’t bring connections to the table — he has a long history with the NYPD in general, and the NYPD detective they cross paths with. Whereas Lydia’s connections provide assistance and (mostly) useful information; Smith’s bring them grief and harassment from the NYPD.
Things move along at a good clip, Lydia’s voice is just as strong and self-assured. The case itself was pretty interesting and tricky enough to satisfy the whodunit reader. Rozan faked me out a couple of times, and in the end, when I was wrong, I could take it, because she laid the groundwork for what was really going on.
I think I’m in this series for the long-haul.