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Snake Agent

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Snake Agent (2005) Liz Williams

Detective Inspector Chen is in charge of crimes that stretch into Heaven and Hell (obviously, far more cases involve Hell over heaven) and as an occult practitioner whose patronage of the goddess Kuan Yin affords him a measure of protection when he has to travel to Hell. Unfortunately, his recent marriage has put him on the outs with his Goddess, and he can’t rely upon her protections right now.

The case begins with a woman wants the police to look into the death of her daughter–not the cause of her death, but the fact that she currently seems to be residing in Hell, rather than in Heaven where she belongs.

My favorite character:

(T)he metal sides of the kettle sprouted into a thick pelt of striped fur. The handle disconnected itself at one end and flattened into a short tail. The spout of the kettle snaked through the air, as if seeking a shape, and then shortened. Two cold black eyes appeared above the spout. Teakettle had become badger.

I also love the philosophy and religion and faith and conflict between all.

(Y)ou’ve got two souls, not one as the Christians tell people. One is called the hun, and the other is called the p’o. When you die, the hun goes out into the universe and tries to find its way to Heaven— usually it just wanders about until it gets reincarnated— but the p’o is different.

“Heaven is good at listening, Wei Chen, but not so good when it comes to acting. That is why we need people like you to do our work in the world. Any help I could give you is already to be found in your own soul.”

Even twenty years ago it was still common to see the small shrines outside each door, and for the old people to speak of the gods as real, living presences. Now, paradoxically, the other worlds were closer than they had been since ancient times; with new technology to speed up all manner of communication, yet people seemed to take less and less interest in spiritual matters.

And the story is just so fun and odd.

Passers-by took one look at Detective Inspector Chen hastening down the road with a lobster on a string, like one of the more eccentric French surrealists, and gave him a very wide berth.

I’m still not certain this is the story I was in the mood for, but it did take me out of myself, so that’s a win.
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, Asian, Fantasy, Mystery, Police, Re-Read, Urban     Comments (0)    



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