CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 9 . . . . November 2, 2012
Chinese mastercraftsmen knew that perfect does not equate to beautiful, and so each piece of pottery, each painting, was created with a tiny flaw -- a scratch, a misplaced drop of paint within the glaze -- to ensure that the end result was indeed truly 'beautiful'. This small fact is the clue that Nicki, a 16-year-old kung-fu expert and adopted Chinese daughter of super-rich Canadian parents, needs to begin to solve the mystery of why the martial-arts master with whom she had hoped to study in Toronto was stabbed and nearly killed the day she arrives in the city. Since she was the first on the scene, she feels some responsibility for finding his attacker, and she does.
The Scratch on the Ming Vase is a real page-turner from the first appearance of the vase at the site of an attempted murder of Sun Yat-Sen back in 1901 in Hawaii to the denoument revelation of just who the characters readers have met are and the parts they have played in the drama. No one is exactly who he -- or she -- appears to be, with perhaps the exception of the owners of the somewhat rundown deli operating in the shadow of a very upscale hotel. The hotel, incidentally, just happens to be owned by Nicki's parents.
The action is fast, with some, but not all of it, involving Nicki's ability to take out several armed opponents simultaneously without breaking into a sweat, and the reasoning is convoluted enough that readers may have to go back to check their facts from time to time, but it's all good fun and readers will love it. Enjoy!
Mary Thomas has retired from working in elementary school libraries in Winnipeg, MB, but still loves finding a book she could really have recommended to her students.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.