Cover image for The frangipani tree mystery / Ovidia Yu.
The frangipani tree mystery / Ovidia Yu.
Publication Information:
London : Constable, 2017.

Physical Description:
313 pages ; 20 cm.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
YU Book Adult Mystery / Suspense Fiction

On Order



First in a delightfully charming crime series set in 1930s Singapore, introducing amateur sleuth Su Lin, a local girl stepping in as governess for the Acting Governor of Singapore.

1936 in the Crown Colony of Singapore, and the British abdication crisis and rising Japanese threat seem very far away. When the Irish nanny looking after Acting Governor Palin's daughter dies suddenly - and in mysterious circumstances - mission school-educated local girl Su Lin - an aspiring journalist trying to escape an arranged marriage - is invited to take her place.

But then another murder at the residence occurs and it seems very likely that a killer is stalking the corridors of Government House. It now takes all Su Lin's traditional skills and intelligence to help British-born Chief Inspector Thomas LeFroy solve the murders - and escape with her own life.

'S imply glorious. Every nook and cranny of 1930s Singapore is brought richly to life, without ever getting in the way of a classic puzzle plot. But what's a setting without a jewel? Chen Su Lin is a true gem. Her slyly witty voice and her admirable, sometimes heartbreaking, practicality make her the most beguiling narrator heroine I've met in a long while.' Catriona McPherson

'Charming and fascinating with great authentic feel. Ovidia Yu's teenage Chinese sleuth gives us an insight into a very different culture and time. This book is exactly why I love historical novels.' Rhys Bowen

Author Notes

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore's best-known and most acclaimed writers. She has had over thirty plays produced and is the author of a number of comic mysteries published in Singapore, India, Japan and America.

She received a Fulbright to the University of Iowa's International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1936 Singapore, this exceptional series launch from Yu (the Aunty Lee mysteries) provides a fascinating look at the then-British Crown colony. Sir Henry Palin, Singapore's acting governor, asks British-born Chief Insp. Thomas Le Froy to investigate the suspicious death of his daughter's Irish nanny, Charity Byrne, at Government House on Frangipani Hill. Much to the dismay of recent mission school graduate Chen Su Lin, she's called upon to fill Charity's position. Better educated than most of her peers, Su Lin has higher aspirations-secretarial school maybe. She accepts it as a temporary assignment, privately adding the responsibility of being Le Froy's eyes and ears inside the house to her job description. Wise and savvy beyond her years, Su Lin craftily dodges the British family's prejudice and distrust while gathering evidence in what becomes a murder case, very nearly losing her life in the process. This cozy historical offers a rare commodity in the genre-a young, Asian, female amateur sleuth. Mystery fans are sure to embrace her. Agent: Priya Doraswamy, Lotus Lane Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.