The Feng Shui Detective Goes South
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Review of The Feng Shui Detective Goes South by Nury Vittachi, Chameleon Press 2002
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The second book in Mr. Vittachi's "Feng Shui Detective" series, "The Feng Shui Detective Goes South" is a very funny book. Dangerously so at times, and as such, should bear a large red label warning against its' being read while consuming beverages, lest unwary readers wind up spitting tea through their nose (as I did while reading chapter 1, "Dying is Very Bad Feng-Shui" in the Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant in Kowloon). The story begins normally enough, with our hero, renowned Singaporean Feng Shui Master C.F. Wong is attempting to solve an arson perpetrated by a dead man. This case soon blossoms into potential murder most foul, as Master Wong is dragged into an even deeper mystery involving a whole cast of strange characters, including a mysterious Malaysian witch doctor with a fetish for chicken entrails, The Union of Industrial Mystics, and a girl with exceptionally inauspicious palms.
Vittachi has excellent comic timing, a gift for writing dialogue, and a sound grasp of the fundamentals of Chinese Geomancy (three qualities rarely found in a single writer). In between sagacious excerpts from C.F. Wong's Book of Oriental Wisdom and bizarre interactions between Wong and a cast of characters who traverse the scales of lunacy, the reader is taken on a bizarre roller coaster ride that eventually brings them to Australia. It is here Master Wong is forced to contemplate the extremely inauspicious design of the Sydney Opera House ("broken rice bowls...the worst symbol") while a girl's life hangs in the balance. Can a fate foretold by palmistry be altered? Why would a ghost haunt a dentist's office? And was the demise of Wong's valued air-conditioning unit suicide or...murder? Only readers of "The Feng Shui Detective Goes South" will ever truly know.
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