About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Friday, April 19, 2024

The Goddess of Yantai by Ian Hamilton

(18. - 1201.) The Goddess of Yantai by Ian Hamilton - Ava Lee’s lover, Chinese actress Pang Fai, is no longer willing to be subservient to the masters of the China Movie Syndicate. She will no longer provide sexual favours to further her career. Mo, Chairman of the Syndicate, consigns her to oblivion and will not release her latest movie, Mao’s Daughter.

Ava, with the aid of Lop who is a colleague of Shanghai triad leader Xu, plan to return Fai to stardom and get the movie released.

At the same time Ava’s company, Three Sisters, is completing a deal in Beijiang to purchase a major logistics company for 550 million renminbi ($103 million Canadian). I would have been glad had more of the book been about Ava’s business dealings.

Ava and Fai must keep their relationship secret in China. Were they publicly known to be lovers Fai’s career in China would be lost no matter what schemes are undertaken by Ava and Lop.

When Ava and Lop are dismissed by Mo after a meeting of 15 minutes they know extreme tactics are needed.

Yet they must proceed carefully. Mo has high level contacts and an uncle on the Standing Politburo. To threaten him directly would be dangerous.

Ava stays with Fai who lives in a hutong, a modest traditional housing complex. Developers have been taking them over, destroying the complexes and building high rises.

Ava enjoys her time in the hutong getting to know some of the residents and local merchants.

Ava learns of the challenges of celebrity. Fai, China’s best known actress wears modest clothing and sunglasses and a cap when she ventures out of the hutong to avoid notice for, if she is recognized, there is instant fawning attention upon her.

Ava gathers evidence for another meeting with Mo. She learned from Uncle that there are times when she must be ruthless. Her second meeting is successful but shortly thereafter Fai is threatened with a compromising video.

Ava turns to tracking down the blackmailers. It is a twisting journey of drama and danger. For the first time in several books Ava personally uses her accounting skills to analyze financial records. Following the money is always a good strategy.

Ava’s bek mei (martial arts) skills are needed. I was struck that, for all she learned from Uncle, she does not have a bodyguard. Sonny was a powerful deterrent to those who would have attacked Uncle. Ava has a stubborn determination to defend herself. Considering the number of powerful and dangerous men she has angered she should have one or more protectors. As well I hope, going forward, she recognizes the need to be as prudent as Uncle about personal safety for many depend on her. Leaders take precautions with regard to security.

Until reading this Ava Lee book I never noticed that the narrative is all Ava. There are no other characters speaking on their own.

I prefer the books in the series that deal with business dealings and the triads. The Goddess of Yantai was much better than the The Iman of Tawi-Tawi.

Ava has effectively moved to Hong Kong and China. She does not make even a brief trip to Toronto in the book.

The book ends with a compelling cliffhanger related to the triads that drives a reader to get the next in the series, The Mountain Master of Sha Tin.



  1. That's interesting, Bill, that Hamilton has more or less moved Ava to Asia. I like it that we get to know more about Ava's relationship, but I do like her business skills, and I, too, would prefer if they were more the focus. That said, I find her a fascinating character, so I don't mind seeing other sides of her.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Readers of the series have come to know Ava well. I equally find her interesting. She will probably be the first thriller hero to become a billionaire.