Books, NaBloPoMo 2010

The Feng Shui Detective – Nury Vittachi

This little book caught my eye while at the library a couple of weeks ago.  I just hate cheery book covers that call to my eye like tinsel to a magpie.  They are impossible to resist.

It combined several of my favourite things – a detective novel, easy reading, Feng Shui, Singapore and a quirky character pairing.

I have to admit to being hooked in as soon as I realised that most of the stories were going to have Singapore as their setting.  It is one of my favourite places to visit as you will be able to tell from this series of posts.  It is always nice to recognise the locations being written about, it adds a sense of coziness and closeness to the story for me.

The format is a series of small mini-mysteries and the book should properly be regarded as a set of short stories.  This works well for me.  I think it would be hard to take a Feng Shui practitioner, put them into a mystery and sustain a single story for an entire book.

The main character is C.F.Wong a feng shui master who is contracted to work on enhancing businesses and personal spaces for his clients; his sidekick is a seventeen year old Australian girl on her gap year.  The setting is predominantly Singapore but also wanders into Malaysia, Hong Kong and India for variety.

It has been very easy and pleasant reading.  This really is the sort of book you want if you are looking for uncomplicated, well written, but essentially undemanding reading.  A great book for travelling with as you can read it in sections, but it is equally easy to pick up for several hours.  And if you like the odd funny cultural commentary, then you might like this too.  As an example here’s a nice moment of cultural clash when the older man, C.F.Wong, a native of Guangdong province originally, goes head-to-head with the modern, global youth culture of Jo McQuinnie.

[the Starbucks Latte]…smelt of bitter coffee and cow milk, and made him feel so sick that he was unable to finish the stewed colon he had picked up from a hawker for his lunch.

I now have a couple more of this series from the library and I’ll see if the formula continues to work in them too.  I hope so because I do like to find easy-read authors, they are a nice antidote to some of the heavier literary works that pop up on my Booklitzer list from time to time.

Happy reading everyone.

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