A supernatural detective in Singapore tries to save his wife—and the universe—in this “thoroughly original fantasy” by the author of Snake Agent (Publishers Weekly).
Detective Inspector Chen is getting used to visiting Heaven. It is a peaceful place, but the eerie calm and ever-present scent of peaches make him yearn for the chaos of Singapore Three. He has come to visit Mhara, the Emperor of Heaven, who ascended to the celestial throne after his father went mad and launched an ill-advised invasion of Hell. Order has been restored to the cosmos, and Mhara is characteristically serene, but trouble is lurking for this handsome young god.
Someone is trying to kill the Emperor of Heaven, and Chen does not have his demonic partner, Zhu Irzh, to fall back on. Zhu Irzh has vanished, Chen’s wife is in danger, and a psychotic Bollywood star is on the warpath. It’s another day in the office for the occult detective—a day that, if he doesn’t restore order quickly, could be the universe’s last.
The Shadow Pavilion is the fourth of the five Detective Inspector Chen Novels, which begin with Snake Agent and The Demon and the City.
The fourth Det. Insp. Chen mystery (after 2007's Precious Dragon) adds a bit of Bollywood to the high-stakes intrigues of Celestials and demons in Williams's clever mix of Chinese folklore and police procedural. Chen, of Singapore Three, is the city's "liaison officer... between Earth and Hell and Heaven." His latest set of troubles starts with the disappearance of his partner, the demon Zhu Irzh, along with Chen's wife's badger familiar. Then Chen learns that someone has hired the bigendered demon assassin Lord Lady Seijin to murder Mhara, the new Emperor of Heaven, and that a rising Bollywood star is actually a tigress demon escaped from the harem of the demon who's trying to steal Zhu Irzh's fianc e. The plot zips along via short, tightly written chapters, growing more and more intricate with each scene. Williams seamlessly blends the occult with modern issues like feminism and illegal immigration to create a thoroughly original fantasy.