Need to Know – Fern Michaels
The Sisterhood: a group of women from all walks of life bound by friendship and a quest for justice. Armed with vast resources, top-notch expertise, and a loyal network of allies around the globe, the Sisterhood will not rest until every wrong is made right.
Through all their missions and adventures, the tightknit group of friends who make up the Sisterhood have learned one vital lesson: everybody has a weak spot. In the case of Yoko Wong’s dear friend Garland Lee, the multimillion-selling performer known as America’s beloved songbird, that weak spot was trusting her lawyer, Arthur Forrester. For years, he’s taken advantage of her faith in him to amass a secret fortune. And now, in the deepest betrayal yet, he’s dragged her into a lawsuit that could cost her home and everything she has left.
The Sisterhood know they can’t let that happen. Forrester has some of the country’s top judges in his pocket, and a list of influential and ruthless friends—not to mention knowledge of all the ways the law can be corrupted to work in his favor. But he doesn’t have the Vigilantes’ deep-seated loyalty and determination. And all his years of underhanded dealings won’t prepare him for the type of creative payback that the Sisters have made their specialty . . .
The Betel Nut Tree Mystery – Ovidia Yu
What we came to think of as the betel nut affair began in the middle of a tropical thunderstorm in December 1937 . . .
Singapore is agog with the news of King Edward VIII’s abdication to marry American heiress Wallis Simpson. Chen Su Lin, now Chief Inspector Le Froy’s secretarial assistant in Singapore’s newly formed detective unit, still dreams of becoming a journalist and hopes to cover the story when the Hon Victor Glossop announces he is marrying an American widow of his own, Mrs Nicole Covington, in the Colony. But things go horribly wrong when Victor Glossop is found dead, his body covered in bizarre symbols and soaked in betel nut juice.
The beautiful, highly-strung Nicole claims it’s her fault he’s dead . . . just like the others. And when investigations into her past reveal a dead lover, as well as a husband, the case against her appears to be stacking up. Begrudgingly on Le Froy’s part, Su Lin agrees to chaperon Nicole at the Farquhar Hotel, intending to get the truth out of her somehow. But as she uncovers secrets and further deaths occur, Su Lin realises she may not be able to save Nicole’s life – or even her own.
The English Concubine (The Straits Quartet #4) – Dawn Farnham
In the fourth and final volume of the The Straits Quartet, Charlotte Macleod is the English concubine. Her love affair with Zhen, wealthy Chinese merchant, is an open scandal to both the English and the Chinese communities.
Singapore in 1860 is a vice-ridden town filled “with the dregs of humanity from two continents”. Opium makes up half of the British Empire’s trade in the East and, from Singapore, the Chinese triads control the vast distribution of chandu, the refined opium, which is spread through the south seas. Turf wars are fought on the high seas and on the streets of Chinatown to control the mighty profits of this trade. The colonial government, impoverished and ineffectual, can do nothing about it. Only the Chinese godfather, the Lord of the Kongsi, has that power through his control of the coolie, prostitute and opium trade.
When Zhen is forced to become the godfather of the Kongsi, cracks appear in Charlotte’s world and when Alexander, her son, unaware of his true paternity, arrives from Scotland and begins a secret and incestuous affair with his own half sister, it explodes.
Opium, murder, incest, suicide, passion and love. A heady combination in the sin city of the south seas.
The Hills of Singapore (The Straits Quartet #3) – Dawn Farnham
In Vol.3 of The Straits Quartet, young, beautiful and wealthy widow Charlotte Macleod leaves Batavia in the 1850s and returns to Singapore for the English education of her two young sons. She is determined not to be drawn back into a secret affair with Zhen, the married Chinese merchant, triad-member and man she loves who is, unbeknownst to him, the father of her eldest son, Alex.
Charlotte is convinced she can find happiness in a respectable marriage with the attractive but reticent Captain Maitland. But when murder and death strike, Singapore erupts in the violence of triad wars and Zhen’s growing affection for Alex gives cause for alarm, she must make some hard decisions, for her children and herself.
Drawing on the real-life historical personalities of the time, Dawn Farnham mixes fact and fiction to paint a rich portrait of mid-nineteenth-century Singapore and the realm of the White Rajah of Sarawak, at a time when triads, piracy and crime were rife and life in colonial Southeast Asia was anything but safe.
The Shallow Seas (The Straits Quartet #2) – Dawn Farnham
In Vol.2 of The Straits Quartet, Charlotte Macleod is nineteen, pregnant, and alone in 1842. She is fleeing a scandalous liaison with her married Chinese lover, a liaison which would bring ruin on him, herself, and her brother, Robert, the police chief of Singapore.
When Tigran Manouk, forty, and the richest merchant in Batavia, capital of the Dutch East Indies, asks for her hand in marriage, the choice is no choice. Through loss and pain, Charlotte will find a way to make a life with a man she does not love in a town she does not understand. Until she returns to Singapore, to the town where the man she loves waits for her, to face the hardest decision of her life.
The Red Thread (The Straits Quartet #1) – Dawn Farnham
Set against the backdrop of 1830s Singapore where piracy, crime, triads and tigers are commonplace, this cultural romance, Vol.1 in The Straits Quartet, follows the struggle of two lovers: Zhen, once the loweliest of Chinese coolies and triad member, later chosen to marry into a Peranakan family of Baba Chinese merchants; and Charlotte, an 18-year-old Scots girl and sister of Singapore’s Head of Police. Two cultures bound together by the invisible threads of fate yet separated by cultural diversity. By incorporating real figures from Singapore’s historical past, Dawn Farnham brings to life the heady atmosphere of Old Singapore, where exotic beliefs and customs clash and jostle in the struggle to make a life and create mutual understanding between peoples from different worlds.