'Great protagonist, great setting - this is a delightful book' Morning Star
The second novel in Ovidia Yu's delightfully charming crime series set in 1930s Singapore, featuring amateur sleuth Su Lin.
What we came to think of as the betel nut affair began in the middle of a tropical thunderstorm in December 1937 . . .
Singapore is agog with the news of King Edward VIII's abdication to marry American heiress Wallis Simpson. Chen Su Lin, now Chief Inspector Le Froy's secretarial assistant in Singapore's newly formed detective unit, still dreams of becoming a journalist and hopes to cover the story when the Hon Victor Glossop announces he is marrying an American widow of his own, Mrs Nicole Covington, in the Colony. But things go horribly wrong when Victor Glossop is found dead, his body covered in bizarre symbols and soaked in betel nut juice.
The beautiful, highly-strung Nicole claims it's her fault he's dead . . . just like the others. And when investigations into her past reveal a dead lover, as well as a husband, the case against her appears to be stacking up. Begrudgingly on Le Froy's part, Su Lin agrees to chaperon Nicole at the Farquhar Hotel, intending to get the truth out of her somehow. But as she uncovers secrets and further deaths occur, Su Lin realises she may not be able to save Nicole's life - or even her own.
'Charming and fascinating with great authentic feel. This book is exactly why I love historical novels' Rhys Bowen
'I really enjoyed this wonderful gem of a book. The diversity and rich history portrayed in the book are what make The Frangipani Tree Mystery a brilliant read. The fact that it's a fusion of crime and historical fiction adds brownie points to the package!' Bookloves Reviews
Charming and fascinating with great authentic feel. Ovidia Yu's teenage Chinese sleuth gives us an insight into a very different culture and time. This book is exactly why I love historical novels. I learn while I am being entertained.
The Frangipani Tree Mystery transports readers to 1930's Singapore, with compelling suspects, a page-turning plot, and an engaging, witty sleuth. Immersive and intriguing from the opening page to the satisfying end.
A new book by Ovidia Yu is always a treat; a new series is an occasion for rejoicing. I loved it and will be following this series eagerly for more of both Su Lin and the world she lives in.
The setting of The Frangipani Tree Mystery is simply glorious. Every nook and cranny of 1930s Singapore is brought richly to life, without ever getting in the way of a classic puzzle plot. But what's a setting without a jewel? Chen Su Lin is a true gem. Her slyly witty voice and her admirable, sometimes heartbreaking, practicality make her the most beguiling narrator heroine I've met in a long while.
Ovidia Yu's Singaporean sleuth is as clever and resourceful as ever (...) The Betel Nut Tree Mystery (...) satisfyingly fuses cosy crime drama with incisive cultural history. - South China Morning Post
Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore's best-known and most acclaimed writers. She has had over thirty plays produced and is the author of a number of comic mysteries published in Singapore, India, Japan and America.
She received a Fulbright to the University of Iowa's International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore.