The Diamond Queen of Singapore by Ian Hamilton (Ava Lee #13)
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.9 MB
Ian Hamilton is a Canadian mystery writer. A former journalist and civil servant, his work has appeared in Maclean’s, Boston, the Leader-Post, the Calgary Albertan, and the Calgary Herald. Hamilton is the of the Ava Lee crime / mystery series. Ian lives in Burlington, Ontario with his wife Lorraine. He has four children and seven grandchildren.
After the father of Ava’s best friend, Mimi, loses his family’s savings in a Ponzi scheme, Mimi turns to her old friend for help. Ava launches an investigation that sends her from Amsterdam to Antwerp and then to Singapore.
As she tracks the money, Ava is reminded of an old case she worked with Uncle years before that took her to Singapore for the first time. In her mind, the two cases begin to merge, and as they do, Uncle becomes visible to Ava, counselling her and urging her to make use of her new triad connections. Ava is reluctant to do so, but Uncle is persistent, and soon Ava finds herself in conflict with one of the most influential family dynasties in Singapore and eventually back in Toronto, where she confronts the new face of power and corruption.
She found a parking spot three houses down from her mother’s. She and Fai stepped out of the car into the bright sunshine of an early summer day, the heat moderated by a slight breeze. Wearing black linen slacks and a long-sleeved coral Brooks Brothers button-down shirt, Ava was dressed more formally than usual for a visit to her mother’s, but she knew that on this occasion Jennie would have been disappointed by anything less. Fai wore a loose-fitting light-blue sleeveless cotton dress that came to just above her knees. Even dressed so plainly — flat shoes, no makeup, and her hair hanging loosely around her face — Ava thought she looked incredible, and said so.
“I was trying for a low-key professional look,” Fai said.
“You’re a movie star. No one expects you to look professional,” Ava said, and then caught herself. “That didn’t come out the way I intended.”
Fai laughed. “Is your mother as direct as you?”
“With me and my sister, Marian, but usually not with anyone else,” Ava said as they reached the house and started walking up the driveway.
The front door opened before they reached it and Jennie Lee stepped into view. Ava guessed her mother had been on the lookout for them.
“Welcome, girls,” Jennie said, her voice filled with excitement.
Ava knew her mother was sixty or maybe a bit older, but Jennie was evasive when it came to the exact number. At five feet four inches she was an inch taller than Ava, and just as slim and fine-boned. She parted her hair — still jet black from expert colouring — in the middle and wore it stylishly curved to mid-ear. She spent several thousands of dollars a year on face creams; although Ava wasn’t convinced that the creams were the reason for her mother’s still unlined, wrinkle-free skin, Jennie was convinced they were.
“Hi, Mummy,” Ava said.
Jennie came down the front steps and walked towards them. Normally she and Ava hugged when they met, but this time Jennie’s attention was fixed on Fai. She held out her right hand, palm down, inviting Fai to take it. “It’s such an honour to have you here. And, my goodness, you are even more beautiful in person than on the screen. How is it possible?”
“And now I can see where Ava gets her looks,” Fai said. “Are you sure you’re her mother and not her sister?”
Unlike Ava, Jennie was never bashful about accepting compliments. “Thank you. I actually hear that quite often,” she said. “Let’s go inside — everyone is so eager to meet you.”
Ava was hoping her mother had restricted the guest list to her mah-jong and casino-trip friends, but when they entered the house, they found themselves facing several clusters of women, maybe twenty in total, all of them Chinese.