New York based Felony and Mayhem Press has recently released The Feng Shui Detective Goes West by Nury Vittachi. The publishers are dubbing it “The Second Master Wong Mystery,” but readers will be happy to learn that the book, originally published in 2008, is actually the fifth entry featuring the popular sleuth.
[Author Nury Vittachi]
A comic novel, set in a mystery milieu, The Feng Shui Detective Goes West follows feng shui master CF Wong and his much younger female assistant, Australian Joyce McQuinnie, as they try to unravel a modern day locked door mystery set on a luxury airplane, dubbed Skyparc. When Wong isn’t in search of a gigantic lunch, or trying to earn some much-needed money, he is able to turn his considerable knowledge of feng shui to solving a murder that may, indirectly, involve the British Royal family, as one of their distant relatives is on board. Wong even finds himself hired to feng shui Buckingham Palace — but he must first travel on Skyparc and unravel its mysteries to get there.
British PR man Robbie Manks tries to explain the job with the Royals to Wong:
“If people were to find out that money was being spent on a feng shui master, they would likely raise an enormous fuss — the headlines would say, ‘Despicable Royals use purse for financing nutters’ or something. They’d say that even when the Queen uses her own money for something.”
“A nutter — it’s British slang — it just means ‘crazy person,’ really. The press would assume anyone who believed in feng shui would be mentally deranged, that’s all. No insult intended or anything.”
“No problem. Many of my clients are Asian businessmen. They also like to keep everything secret.”
“Well, this is exactly the same as that.”
“Mostly because they are crooks.”
“Oh. Well, perhaps not exactly like that, in this case.”
Joyce also brings her considerable talents to the table, which includes an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure ’70s rock and pop music, and a more working knowledge of modern day slang and behavior. She also happens to have gone to school with the main suspect in the case, which proves helpful.
The crime aspects were interesting and complicated enough to satisfy fans of the genre, but like the gentle mysteries posed and solved by Mma Romatswe in Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, what is most interesting and entertaining in The Feng Shui Detective Goes West are the characters, and author Vittachi’s wry East vs. West humor. Vittachi, a journalist who also writes an entertaining blog, has a lot of fun with his titular character. There are laugh-out-loud moments as Wong and McQuinnie react to others around them. There are also interspersed “extracts” from Wong’s own Gleanings of Oriental Wisdom that add to the flavor and atmosphere of the story.
The Feng Shui Detective Goes West is very entertaining, and readers will do well to consider and observe like the feng shui detective, as well as seek out his other humorous adventures.