Utterly delightful book until halfway through when the maudlin crept in and tore the plot into bits of paper. Basic story that Christopher lives with his parents in Shanghai until they are kidnapped, and he is shipped off to his aunt’s custody in England. Christopher graduates from school, becomes a world renowned detective, and solves many prominent cases before returning to Shanghai to (of course) resurrect the case of his missing parents. Throughout, he drops hints of his Japanese childhood pal, Aikira, and wanting to reunite with him. Before this journey, he takes custody of another orphan, Jennifer, and I can even stomach this part.
But then he has an inexplicable relationship with Sarah Hemmings, who uses him to gain entry into an event with grand personages, and ultimately marries Sir Cecil who swoops her off to Shanghai where he’s going to have one last great act. When Christopher finds them in China, Cecil is deeply in debt and gambling every night. Sarah runs away and asks Christopher to join her; he agrees and meets her in a record shop then dashes out for one last look at the house that his parents might still be held captive in, which is behind Japanese lines. Cue fighting, war, a Japanese solder on the verge of death whom we must believe is Aikira, a meeting with the Yellow Snake informant who tells Christopher his dad died in the arms of his mistress a few years after he disappeared, and his mom is a concubine for a drug war lord.
Let me save you some time– skip it.