Created by S.J. Rozan
“I cruised past travel agents and layaway furniture stores, fastfood takeouts and storefront clinics. The Concourse flowed through the Bronx like a river between high banks of stone and brick. Well-made andonce proud, the apartment buildings on either side stood together like elderly cousins lined up for the last family photograph.”
— from Concourse
New York private eye BILL SMITH and his sometime partner/associate LYDIA CHIN have appeared together and separately in a long-running and popular series of entertaining short stories and novels.
Bill is the rumpled, middle-aged “seen-it-all” cynic with a sentimental streak who’s lived alone, above a bar, for sixteen years. He plays piano for relaxation, although nobody has heard him play for over twenty years (wouldn’t you just love to hear the story behind that one?). He’s also been known to disappear on occasion for an upstate hunting trip. He’s had a long stretch in the P.I. business and an even longer string of acquaintances that includes bookies, loan sharks and cops. In other words, pretty much your old school private eye.
Lydia, on the other hand, is truly a fresh breeze. She comes from a tight-knit Chinese-American community, and lives in Chinatown, where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, especially Chin Yong-Yun, her disapproving mother.
A sense of affection infuses the relationship between Bill and Lydia which, so far, has only gone as far as casual flirting. But quite an interesting relationship. I mean, Bill’s a fortyish army brat who’s been around, and Lydia’s a native New Yorker, Chinatown-Chinese, twelve years younger, who still lives with her mom. The subtly elegant prose style and the gentle friction between the two provides a sexy spark to the stories, and the well-drawn recccurring characters and insiders’ look into Manhattan, especially Chinatown, make this series one to watch out for.
Born and brought up in the Bronx, Rozan is an architect in a New York firm whose practice includes police stations, hospitals, firehouses, zoo buildings, and the largest terra cotta restoration project in the world, which may explain why she has such a sharp eye for architectual detail; much in the way that, say, Chandler spotted grotesquerie or Ross Macdonald noted flora and fauna.
A long-time fan favourite and one of the hardest working writers in the shamus game, her work has nabbed Edgars, Anthony, Shamuses, Neroes and Macavities, and she’s done her toime for tthe Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and the Private Eye Writers of America, and was awarded that organization’s The Eye, a lifetime achievement award, in 2016. Most recently, under the pen name of Sam Cabot, she has collaborated with academic Carlos Drews on a series of supernatural religious thrillers featuring Father Thomas Kelly and assorted vampires.
The author also has the key to the city of Fort Worth, Texas, has worked as a self-defense instructor and photographer, and is life-long Knicks fan, considering herself a “lousy but dogged” point guard.
- “S.J. Rozan… continues to maintain a high level of quality in her series work, reminiscent of Ross Macdonald.”
— George P. Pelecanos (March 2001, Rara-Avis)
- “Heartbreak” (Winter 1990, P.I. Magazine) | Kindle It!
- “Once Burned” (1991, P.I. Magazine; also 1996, Lethal Ladies)
- “Prosperity Restaurant” (1991, The Fourth Womensleuth Anthology; 1998, Lethal Ladies II) | Kindle It!
- “Hot Numbers” (February 1992, P.I. Magazine)
- “Body English” (December 1992, AHMM) | Kindle It!
- “Film at Eleven” (1994, Deadly Allies #2)
- “Birds of Paradise” (December 1994, AHMM)| Kindle It!
- “Hoops” (January 1996, EQMM)
- “Subway” (1997, Vengeance is Hers)
- “A Tale About a Tiger” (1999, Sounds Like Murder, Vol VI) | Kindle It!
- “Marking the Boat” (2000, The Shamus Game)
- “Childhood” (September 2000, Compulsion)
- “Double-Crossing Delancey” (2001, Mystery Street) | Kindle It!
- “Shots” (2006, Murder at the Foul Line)
- China Trade (1994) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Concourse (1995) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Mandarin Plaid (1996) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- No Colder Place (1997) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- A Bitter Feast (1998) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Stone Quarry (1999) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Reflecting the Sky (2001) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Winter and Night (2002) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- The Shanghai Moon (2009) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- On the Line (2010) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Ghost Hero (2012) | Buy this book | Kindle It!
- Paper Son (2019) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER
What started out as a laugh for an anthology has turned into a small sideline for Rozan. She’s written several short stories featuring Chin Yong-Yun, Lydia’s mother, in the role of amateur sleuth “assisting” her beloved daughter, and one of ’em, “Chin Yong-Yun Helps a Fool” which appeared in the September/October 2018 issue of EQMM, even nabbed a Shamus nom, although of course Lydia’s mom isn’t really a private eye.
- “Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case” (2010, Damn Near Dead 2) | Kindle It!
- “Chin Yong-Yun Makes a Shidduch” (2015, Manhattan Mayhem)
- “Chin Yong-Yun Meets a Ghost” (March/April 2015, EQMM)
- “Chin Yong-Yun Stays at Home” (January/February 2017, AHMM)
- “Chin Yong-Yun Helps a Fool” (September/October 2018, EQMM)
- A Tale About a Tiger and Other Mysterious Events (2009) | Buy this book
- Building and Other Stories (2011) | Kindle It!
- S.J. Rozan
The author’s official site.