The book is set, mostly, in New York City. Lydia is the daughter of Cantonese immigrants; she lives with her mother, who is "traditional" so far as it suits her, and is not happy with Lydia's choice of profession (Lydia has a close childhood friend who is a cop, and Mary's mother isn't happy with it, either). Nor does her mother approve of her friendship with Bill Smith, a white man; he does not even call her at home, and has never visited.
Lydia narrates first-person, slipping in many details of life as a Chinese person: noticing how her method of eating in a Chinese restaurant is different from the white people also eating there, her insider knowledge of how to speak to older Chinese people with whom she works, and her deep understanding of how crime works in the Chinatown neighborhood. All of these details are interesting me more than the mystery, though, which involves stolen export porcelains. I am wishing there was more sense of urgency about recovering them, so the plot would move faster.
I like the book, but don't love it. Will probably give the next one a chance.