Woman Private Eye Holds Her Own As Half a Team

I confess to bias. Just a small one. Not the kind that spawns ugliness. But the fact is, I’ve long resisted trying any P.I. stories that featured a duo of private eyes.

The pair always seems to be male-female, and I couldn’t shake an abiding certainty that the female would be window dressing to the male.  Cute window dressing to entice women readers. Worse still, I suspected that when things got rough, the spunky gal would be bailed out by her wiser, tougher partner.

Boy, am I glad I put my bias aside long enough to discover the Lydia Chin – Bill Smith series by S.J. Rozan.

Lydia may be younger and newer at the P.I. game than Bill, but she’s the central character. She carries a gun. She’s got guts enough to go up against influential people and street toughs. She’s nobody’s dummy.

China Trade

Having grown up Chinese-American, Lydia knows New York’s Chinatown as few outsiders do. As she walks through its streets, the reader smells its aromas, hears its sounds and sees its people. In China Trade, first book in the series, Chinatown’s complex workings fascinate without slowing a tightly woven plot about the theft of rare porcelains from a small museum.

And Bill? The other part of the duo is a likable, smart P.I. any mystery reader would enjoy. He’s steady. He has sources which complement Lydia’s. He respects her abilities and her judgment. You have to love his name, too. In an era of often ridiculous attempts at originality, his has the confidence of simplicity.

They make a good team, Bill and Lydia. And I’m glad there are lots more books to read in this series.

So if you, too, harbor a teeny-tiny bias — against books with certain settings, or by women authors, or published by indies, to name just a few — try to put it aside just once. You might be rewarded by hours and hours of new reading enjoyment.

M. Ruth Myers writes the Maggie Sullivan mysteries featuring a pre-WW2 woman P.I.

About mruthmyers

Welcome to the spot for aficionados of the 1940s, strong women protagonists and private eye novels. Shamus Award winning mystery writer M. Ruth Myers, author of the Maggie Sullivan mysteries and other novels, is your host. Share stories of your female relatives on the WW2 homefront. Find new books. Most of all have fun!

Posted on October 9, 2014, in Authors and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have always loved the tough P.I. Usually, it’s the lone wolf type I read: Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe. But another duo I like is Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series. She’s the cop and he’s the consultant. She not only goes to the crime scenes but she acts as Lincoln’s 5 senses for Lincoln is a quadroplegic.


  2. Thanks for recommending the Deaver series, Debbie. I like P.I. fare better than police procedurals, but this sounds tempting.


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