Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chinese New Year Mysteries

恭賀發財 Gung Ho Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Ox.
I love holiday mysteries, as you probably know if you've been following this Blog. Living in San Francisco, the City that Knows How, I thought I'd put together a special mystery list for Chinese New Year! This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Yes, there's the Nancy Drew, The Chinese New Year Mystery that's part of the Nancy Drew Notebooks ( by Carolyn Keene and Jan Naimo Jones), but I was looking for adult mysteries.

So here's what I've come up with. I'd love to find out which ones I'm missing.

Year of the Dog by Henry Chang
The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by
Robert Van Gulik (7th Century china) "New Year's Eve in Lan-Fang"
Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer
Neon Dragon by John Dobbyn

And, a short story by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer: "The Lady Fish Mystery", EQMM, September/October 1996.
I seem to remember a mystery by William Marshall (Yellowthread Street mysteries) set during Chinese New Year, but I may be mistaken. Surely I've missed a title by S. J. Rozan?

This was a challenge. During my search I discovered some information about typical foods for Chinese New Year. Did you know that carp is a typical main course o
n New Year's Eve? Carp symbolizes a profitable year ahead. Now carp reminds me of another holiday completely, and one of my favorite holiday books, not a mystery, is The Carp in the Bathtub by Barbara Cohen, illustrated by Joan Halpern. Yes, gefilte fish is made from carp. Speaking of food, here's a great article from Salon on "The Carp in the Bathtub" by Alan Deutschman for all you foodies out there.

But I digress. Must be because of the paucity of titles I've been able to come up with. So, I'm off to
Chinatown where I can see the parade of dragons and hear the firecrackers, or at least I hope that's what they are. Let's face it, real shots often sound a lot like firecrackers, and this is a mystery Blog.


Lesa said...

Did you see NUMB3RS last night? It started at a celebration in Chinatown, with the firecrackers and dragons. It's my favorite show. And, it would have definitely fit the mood of your blog entry.

Janet Rudolph said...

I missed it, but I can get it On Demand. Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

How about "Year Of The Dragon" (1981) by Robert Daley, former Deputy Commissioner of NYPD? It's a gritty take on New York's Chinatown as opposed to Henry Chang's noirish, melancholy "Year Of The Dog". The 1985 Michael Cimino film based on the book (with screenplay by Oliver Stone) starring Mickey "The Wrestler" Rourke is flawed, but still pretty spectacular.

Janet Rudolph said...

Thanks to Kathleen Chalmers for showing me a new way to search for titles. Here's another Chinese New Year Mystery: The Skull Cage Key by Michel Marriott. Note: this starts Chinese New Yer, 2042, so there's a science fiction element to this thriller.
Here's a link that Kathleen Chalmers sent. I went through and didn't find anything specific to this list (short of reading all the books) but this was a lot of fun, and I found some books I'd like to add to my own TBR pile. Thanks.

Kelli Stanley said...

RICE BOWL, my dark, sweeping 1940 San Francisco PI novel, is set during Chinese New Year ... and, I'm overjoyed to say, will be out next year from Thomas Dunne. Shh ... you heard it here first! ;)