All Body Bags and No Knickers

Shawe Ruckus

Publisher: Shawe Ruckus Pages: 308 Price: (paperback) $9.99 ISBN: 9781916572249 Reviewed: October, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

Chance Yang, an Inner Mongolian Chinese mergers and acquisitions consultant, and his British bride Catherine Roxborough encounter multiple murders—new and decades old—on their honeymoon in this third novel in Shawe Ruckus’ Mercenaries in Suits series.

Chance was introduced in A Chinese Remedy, living in London with his fiancée Catherine. Young, they party with a colorful cast of friends and soon marry, heading out on a trip to China. Chance’s female cousin An—so close to Chance that they call each other siblings—travels with them. Is she the key to the decades-old death of a teenage Korean student who left behind the cryptic note, “Find An”?

During the trip, Catherine encounters a Korean businessman at their hotel, someone An seems to know. When his body is discovered with another in a nearby derelict building collapse, Catherine begins to suspect the event is linked to the student’s death and that Chance and An are involved. But as the story unfolds, it takes turns Catherine never anticipated.

This is more a novel of modern manners, travelogue, and ode to Asian food than a mystery. It’s almost 60 pages before readers get back to the Korean schoolgirl’s mysterious note, introduced in the Prologue. Until then, Chance and Catherine spend long, boozy nights with their friends.

The dialogue is deliciously catty, and readers will appreciate the author’s descriptions of China’s spas and restaurant fare. However, attempting to follow the mystery’s clues is like trying to hear a lone voice in a noisy airport. The narrative wanders into pop culture, cats, Catherine’s food poisoning, Chinese superstitions, and more. When the mystery is finally solved, it’s easy to have lost the thread. Rather than clicking into place, the resolution results in the reader thinking, “Wait…how?”

Fans of the series will likely be motivated to overcome the obstacles. Those coming to this fresh might find it a struggle to get solid footing.

Also available as an ebook.

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