Chinaman's Chance ***
Thus begins what may be the most popular of Ross Thomas's unique stories. The combination of Wu, pretender to the Imperial throne of China, and Quincy Durant, who has his own colorful past, makes for a heady experience. After starting with the deceased pelican on a California beach, the plot mixes in the disappearance of a large sum of money that should have been buried in Vietnam, and the search for the missing member of a trio of singing sisters from the Ozarks. Only Thomas could have stirred this concoction with the style, humor, and suspense that captures the reader at the very beginning and doesn't let go until the last word.