“Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case” by S. J. Rozan is a light mystery. Yong-Yun’s daughter is a Chinese American private investigator, Lydia Chin, Rozan’s series detective, but in this short story it is Yong-Yun who offers her help. Tan Li-Li plays mahjong with Yong-Yun and her friends, but when she calls for Lydia’s help, Lydia’s not home. Li-Li’s grandson has been kidnapped and Li-Li’s son only has two hours before he needs to turn over the code for software his firm has developed as ransom, effectively destroying his career. Yong-Yun accepts the case, implying that she works closer with Lydia than she does.
I liked how Yong-Yun followed the clues, and dealt with the whole situation wisely. She’s a bright woman. I enjoyed reading her thoughts, not just on the case but on her daughter’s profession, asking the computer about people “as though it were a temple fortuneteller,” marriage which “if handled badly, can be a source of distress,” and her culture.
Apparently Rozan has won several awards for her Lydia Chin series. I had never heard of her before, but that’s one of the good things about short stories- discovering new to me authors without a huge commitment of time. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not knowing any of the series character. Rozan did a great job of filling out Yong-Yun’s character, and Lydia’s only appearance in the story is a brief phone call during which her mother brushes her off.
3½ out of 5 stars
Category: Mystery & Detective- Short Story
Short Story Monday is hosted by John at The Book Mine Set.
RIP VI is hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.