06 February 2018

Stone Quarry by S. J. Rozan

Stone Quarry
S. J. Rozan
St. Martin's Minotaur, 1999

"Stone Quarry" is book six in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series of mysteries about two New York City private eyes. They have separate practices but often work together. The unusual twist to the series is that the odd-numbered books are about Lydia Chin's cases and told from her point of view, while the evens are Bill Smith's from his point of view. Lydia's cases often involve her Chinatown neighborhood and offer glimpses of local customs; Bill's are more noir and violent. She's twentysomething and lives with her mother, who only speaks Chinese and wants Lydia to be a good Chinese girl with a (Chinese) husband. He's much older, very cynical, has been around, and knows lots of low-lifes and cops. He's also a bit of a tortured soul and sweet on Lydia.


This time Bill has gone to his cabin in the woods of upstate New York, not for relaxation but to take on a job finding some lost art work for a local woman. Then a young man Bill is very fond of goes missing and both the good guys and the bad guys are out to find him. There's a body or two; secrets get uncovered; Bill gets beat up and shot; and Lydia joins him to help out. All par for the course in a Bill Smith/Lydia Chin novel!

I like this series, even though it's a bit more violent than my usual cozy-mystery fare. Lydia and Bill are just friends, though Bill wants something more. Their repartee isn't Tracy and Hepburn, but it's fun. I've enjoyed all six and I look forward to reading the next five. Fingers crossed that Rozan continues the series, although the last one was published in 2011. She has won many mystery writing awards for her novels and short stories.


  1. Ah, that's interesting! I knew she swapped viewpoints between the odd and evens numbers, but I didn't know she changed the style of the story. The one I read was told from Lydia's viewpoint so had Chinese elements (it's so long since I read it I'm hazy on the details). I must try one of Bill's. Should they be read in order do you think? I have a feeling I felt I'd missed out on a lot of backstory in the one I read...

  2. I like to read a series in order; I'm a bit OCD that way! But I think you're right about the backstory being missing. You said in another post that in the one you read they were in China. I've read 6 and they have all been US-based. Could be a lot of history between Lydia & Bill that you missed. And I think Bill reveals more of his life story with each book. I'd start at #1, China Trade. I'm on to #7, Reflecting the Sky, where they go to Hong Kong.