Shanghai Twilight

This is Legare’s third published book. It is a good story and the historical setting of Shanghai, China in 1932 makes it a good read. I am a historian but my knowledge of China in this period is rudimentary. However, Legare seems to have it right. Japan and China had several brawls starting in 1894, culminating in full invasion in 1937. The 1932 incident was short-lived, just two months.

In this story, Tom Lai, an American born Chinese, has made a name for himself by owning the best night club in the city, the Club Twilight. His success did require deals with the (real)  Green Gang lead by Big-Eared Tu (real). The Green Gang hunted for spies for the government (real) and the fictional Tom was suspected because papers were passed inside his club. Tom was given 48 hours to discover the real spy or be executed as the spy.

It’s a good plot and Legare has stuffed in plenty of kinks and twists. My only complaints are that there are too many typos and the style is heavy-handed at times. Perhaps a better description would be that his voice lakes polish. He also uses phrases that work in American English but are unlikely in Shanghainese. Still, good read.

Mike Lawrence

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