the guardian Fri 10 July 2009
Kingsley Amis once wrote that "an interest in realism turns up when a genre is past its first youth". If this is so, then crime fiction may be entering its second childhood, to judge from the burgeoning subgenre of exotic detectives who solve unfeasibly easy mysteries while indulging in easy-listening philosophising (could someone please think up a name?). Nury Vittachi's third novel is a case in point. CF Wong, feng shui consultant and reluctant amateur detective, tours Asia keeping the ch'i flowing and taking on cases ranging from a kidnapped Thai film star to a millionaire's missing classic car collection, aided, variously, by Madame Xu the fortune-teller, Sinha the astrologer and his young assistant, Joyce. Short on plot, and with the merest nod to motivation, these tales are slight but charming, with an endearing cast of characters and plenty of background colour.