A Lotus For Miss Quon-James Hadley Chase (1960)

james hadley chase-a lotus for miss quon

An American in Saigon finds two million dollars worth of diamonds in the wall of his home. He has to figure out a way to get to Hong Kong so he can sell them and disappear. This another good,fast moving novel from  Chase.

Sam Jaffe lives in a rented villa in Saigon while he works for a shipping company. He has a Vietnamese mistress named Nhan Lee Quon. His houseboy Haum disapproves as do a lot of Vietnamese. One day Sam spots a painting that reminds him of Nhan so he buys it. In the villa he has Haum help him hang it. When Sam hits a wall with a hammer it opens a bigger hole. Inside he finds a sack of diamonds.

Haum, says the villa was owned by the mistress of a general who was killed by a bomb and the jewels belong to him. Sam says they’re his now and Haum insists on turning them over to the police. Sam panics and kills him and hides the body in a closet. His cook and Haum’s girlfriend stop by and get suspicious when Sam says Haum isn’t there.

Sam knows he’s in trouble and has to leave the country. That’s a lot easier said than done. He approaches nightclub owner Blackie Lee for help in getting a fake British passport so he can get to Hong Kong. It’s going to cost him and will take some time. He tells Nahn the whole story and she wants to go to the police. He talks her out of it and she agrees to hide him out at her grandfather’s outside of town.

Sam borrows a car from his friend at the US embassy. His pal is currently enjoying some time with a hooker so the car is free. Now Sam has to drive past a police post. He has Nahn hide on the floor. He doesn’t know the Viet Minh set up three peasants with hand grenades to destroy the post and kill the policemen.

The peasants do their job but end up dead thanks to Sam and Nahn. The car is a wreck and they grab two bicycles and head out. A police inspector visits Sam’s buddy and then reports to his superior, Colonel On-dinh-Khuc, the Chief of Security Police.  They go to Sam’s villa and discover the body and the hole in the wall. They know the diamonds were there.

The Colonel has Haum’s body taken to the site of the killings and puts out the story that Jaffe was kidnapped by the Viet Minh. He also puts out a shoot on sight order. His time in office is running out and he wants those diamonds before he’s forced out.

Lot of good stuff to come in a story that seems all too plausible. Chase fans will like this one and it will get him some new ones.

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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