Could a gorgeous old ballgown be used to commit murder?
Deep in the heart of Texas, Chinese immigrant Daiyu Wu discovers a mysterious ballgown in her family’s laundry business. It reeks of burned garlic and there is money pinned to it to pay for the cleaning. But no one knows who left it there.
Harnessing her instincts, knowledge, and determination, Dai sets out to learn everything she can about this strange green dress. Who wore it? Who left it at the laundry?
As she unravels the mystery behind the dress, Dai discovers a lot more than she bargained for. Someone has committed a murder using arsenic. Dai believes the dress is the key and that the murderer is trying to use the laundry to hide this crucial piece of evidence, the green ballgown.
Many factors conspire against Dai, but she remains undeterred. The police don’t even know about the murder. People think her blindness stops her from doing things. It’s Dallas in 1930, and Chinese people like Dai are not welcomed by the white residents of the city. Pushing these factors to one side, Dai turns detective. With Prince Razor, her canine best friend, and Jacques Haskins, her human one, she knows she must take on the challenges posed by a spoiled popinjay, his jealous self-appointed girlfriend, and Dai’s overprotective parents.
Time is ticking, but even though the killer is unaware that Dai is on their trail, they are destroying any evidence of their foul deed. Can she and her friends work out the mystery despite all the obstacles stacked against them?
For lovers of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Plot/Idea: Black Jade is a meticulously plotted mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie, with a plot that unfolds intriguingly in this quickly-paced novel.
Prose: Told in first-person perspective, Jacques’s narration proves an almost Watson-like counterpart to Daiyu Wu’s Holmes. The snappy and fast-paced dialogue brings the story to life.
Originality: Readers will find this to be a classic mystery set in 1930s Texas. Though frequent readers of the genre may target the culprit early on, protagonist Dai’s keen eye, curiosity, and wit are delightful fun.
Character Development/Execution: The blind Chinese protagonist Daiyu Wu is inherently clever and memorable, and narrator Jacques is a loyal yet complex companion.
Blurb: A gripping Agatha-Christie-esque whodunit whose atmosphere and characters are sure to delight readers.
Date Submitted: April 18, 2022