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Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves’

A library patron handed me Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves and said she was returning it and wanted me to have it; she described it as a fun read. That’s exactly right. It’s a humorous whodunnit with frequent, mouth-watering descriptions of Chinese cuisine.

Tucker is a senior in college when some unnamed unfortunate event results in his leaving school. At a rest stop in New Hampshire he meets Corrine Chang, who needs a ride to Buffalo. He takes her by way of his parents’ house in Massachusetts. Over a meal of Dongpo pork, Corrine — and readers — learn that Chinese cooking is Tucker’s passion and that he’s headed to St. Louis. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I can say that Corrine ends up in St. Louis too, and readers eventually learn who the diamond thieves are. In between, they learn Tucker’s many rules, such as “Rule #11: Timing is everything,” and “Rule #45: Never pass up the opportunity to have dumplings.”

Tucker is a sweetheart, and an interesting character. Besides being the only non-Chinese Chinese chef everywhere he cooks, he’s a martial artist. He can incapacitate bad guys, but Lowry also lets readers see him muse, holding Corrine, “I thought about the pool of warmth around us that seemed like a space that was at the same time very , very small and simultaneously all the room I would ever need or want.” I wouldn’t call this a cozy mystery since there are Chinese gangsters and kitchen staff trading insults. But it’s a gentle one, sweet in a way, romantic and original.

Just have snack — or a Chinese take-out menu — handy.

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