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The Water Rat of Wanchai

Book 1, Ava Lee Series

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
A CBC Bookie Award: Mystery and Thriller, Finalist
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
An Editors’ Pick

In the first electrifying book of the series, Ian Hamilton introduces us to Ava Lee — the smartest, most stylish heroine in crime fiction since Lisbeth Salandar.

Ava Lee is a young Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant who works for an elderly Hong Kong–based “Uncle,” who may or may not have ties to the Triads. At 115 lbs., she hardly seems a threat. But her razorsharp intellect and resourcefulness allows her to succeed where traditional methods have failed.

In The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava travels across continents to track $5 million owed by a seafood company. But it’s in Guyana where she meets her match: Captain Robbins, a huge hulk of a man and godfather-like figure who controls the police, politicians, and criminals alike. In exchange for his help, he decides he wants a piece of Ava’s $5 million action and will do whatever it takes to get his fair share . . .

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 10, 2014 – American fans of Ava Lee, a Toronto-based forensic accountant who specializes in finding and recovering missing money, will welcome Hamilton's first in the series, whose publication in the U.S. follows that of the fourth entry, 2013's The Red Pole of Macau. When her Chinese business partner, Uncle, asks her to help a friend's nephew, who has lost $5 million to an unscrupulous seafood distributor, Ava embarks on a multicountry quest to track the funds. She travels to Hong Kong, where the deal originated, then follows the money trail to Bangkok and Georgetown, Guyana. In the seedy South American capital, she bribes Captain Robbins the de facto power behind the government, military, law enforcement, and the criminal underworld to help her reclaim the money from Jackson Seto, who masterminded the seafood scam. Despite a somewhat anticlimactic ending, this is an enjoyable romp with a feisty, ingenious heroine whose lethal martial arts skills are as formidable as her keen mind.

Customer Reviews


Awesome to discover a new author. Well done and already looking forward to Ava's next adventure!

Good read...

Read it in one day. Good story, good characters. However, not a big fan of the multiple and repeating product placements.

Good fast read

It is a good book, pace is good and details exceptional.

The Water Rat of Wanchai
View in iTunes
  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Women Sleuths
  • Published: Feb 19, 2011
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press Inc
  • Seller: House of Anansi Inc
  • Print Length: 424 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Book 1, Ava Lee Series
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings