Diamond Queen of Singapore, The: An Ava Lee Novel: Book 13

Diamond Queen of Singapore, The: An Ava Lee Novel: Book 13

by Ian Hamilton


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, October 29


In the latest thrilling novel in the Ava Lee series, Ava launches an investigation into a fraudulent investment scheme that sends her around the globe on the trail of illegal diamonds, drug smuggling, and offshore banking.

Ava and Pang Fai are in Toronto to attend a party at the home of Ava’s mother, Jennie Lee. When Ava’s best friend, Mimi, fails to appear, Ava goes looking for her. She finds Mimi at home, distraught over the death of her father, who has taken his own life after losing the family’s savings in a fraudulent investment scheme. Moved to avenge this tragedy and recover the stolen money, Ava launches an investigation that takes her to cities on three continents.

As she tracks the money, Ava is thrust into the underworld of illegal diamond trading, international drug smuggling, and the world’s most secretive offshore banking haven. Along the way, a number of Ava’s old friends offer their assistance—from her business partner, May Ling Wong, to her ge ge, the Mountain Master of Shanghai, Xu. Most poignant of all, Ava is visited in her dreams by Uncle, who offers her much-needed guidance as she confronts a new face of power and corruption.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781487002060
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Publication date: 08/04/2020
Series: The Ava Lee Novels , #13
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 517,288
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

IAN HAMILTON is the author of fourteen novels in the Ava Lee series and two in the Lost Decades of Uncle Chow Tung series. His books have been shortlisted for numerous prizes, including the Arthur Ellis Award, the Barry Award, and the Lambda Literary Prize, and are national bestsellers. BBC Culture named Hamilton one of the ten mystery/crime writers from the last thirty years who should be on your bookshelf. The Ava Lee series is being adapted for television.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher


“Whip smart, kick-butt heroine, mixed into a perfect combination of adventure and exotic location. Can’t wait to see where Ava is off to next.” — Taylor Stevens, author of the Vanessa Michael Monroe Series

“The only thing scarier than being ripped off for a few million bucks is being the guy who took it and having Ava Lee on your tail. If Hamilton’s kick-ass accountant has your number, it’s up.” — Linwood Barclay

“A heck of a fun series, sharing Ian Fleming’s penchant for intrigue and affinity for the finer things in life and featuring Ava Lee — a remarkable hero, a twenty-first century James Bond with real depth beneath her tough- as-nails exterior. Five stars and first class!” — Owen Laukkanen, author of The Professionals

“Ava Lee, that wily, wonderful hunter of nasty business brutes, is back in her best adventure ever . . . if you haven’t yet discovered Ava Lee, start here.” — Globe and Mail

“Slick, fast-moving escapism reminiscent of Ian Fleming.” — Booklist

“A hugely original creation.” — Irish Independent

“Another action-packed entry in a solid series.” — Booklist “Crackling with suspense, intrigue, and danger, your fingers will be smoking from turning these pages. Don’t ever, ever, mess with Ava Lee. She’s not your average accountant.” — Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans


Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel

“Ian Hamilton’s The Water Rat of Wanchai is a smart, action-packed thriller of the first order, and Ava Lee, a gay Asian-Canadian forensics accountant with a razor-sharp mind and highly developed martial arts skills, is a protagonist to be reckoned with. We were impressed by Hamilton’s tight plotting; his well-rendered settings, from the glitz of Bangkok to the grit of Guyana; and his ability to portray a wide range of sharply individualized characters in clean but sophisticated prose.” — Judges’ Citation, Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel

“Ava Lee is tough, fearless, quirky, and resourceful, and she has more — well, you know — than a dozen male detectives I can think of . . . Hamilton has created a true original in Ava Lee.” — Linwood Barclay, author of No Time for Goodbye

“If the other novels [in the series] are half as good as this debut by Ian Hamilton, then readers are going to celebrate. Hamilton has created a marvellous character in Ava Lee . . . This is a terrific story that’s certain to be on the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel list.” — Globe and Mail

“[Ava Lee’s] lethal knowledge . . . torques up her sex appeal to the approximate level of a female lead in a Quentin Tarantino film.” — National Post

“The heroine in The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton sounds too good to be true, but the heroics work better that way . . . formidable . . . The story breezes along with something close to total clarity . . . Ava is unbeatable at just about everything. Just wait for her to roll out her bak mei against the bad guys. She’s perfect. She’s fast.” — Toronto Star

“Imagine a book about a forensic accountant that has tension, suspense, and action . . . When the central character looks like Lucy Liu, kicks like Jackie Chan, and has a travel budget like Donald Trump, the story is anything but boring. The Water Rat of Wanchai is such a beast . . . I look forward to the next one, The Disciple of Las Vegas.” — Montreal Gazette

“[A] tomb-raiding Dragon Lady Lisbeth, sans tattoo and face metal.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“An enjoyable romp with a feisty, ingenious heroine whose lethal martial arts skills are as formidable as her keen mind.” — Publishers Weekly

“Readers will discern in Ava undertones of Lisbeth Salander, the ferocious protagonist of the late Stieg Larsson’s crime novels . . . She, too, is essentially a loner, and small, and physically brutal . . . There are suggestions in The Water Rat of Wanchai of deeper complexities waiting to be more fully revealed. Plus there’s pleasure, both for Ava and readers, in the puzzle itself: in figuring out where money has gone, how to get it back, and which humans, helpful or malevolent, are to be dealt with where, and in what ways, in the process . . . Irresistible.” — Joan Barfoot, London Free Press

The Water Rat of Wanchai delivers on all fronts . . . feels like the beginning of a crime-fighting saga . . . A great story told with colour, energy, and unexpected punch.” — Hamilton Spectator

“The best series fiction leaves readers immersed in a world that is both familiar and fresh. Seeds planted early bear fruit later on, creating a rich forest that blooms across a number of books . . . [Hamilton] creates a terrific atmosphere of suspense . . .” — Quill & Quire

“The book is an absolute page-turner . . . Hamilton’s knack for writing snappy dialogue is evident . . . I recommend getting in on the ground floor with this character, because for Ava Lee, the sky’s the limit.” — Inside Halton

“A fascinating story of a hunt for stolen millions. And the hunter, Ava Lee, is a compelling heroine: tough, smart, and resourceful.” — Meg Gardiner, author of The Nightmare Thief

“Few heroines are as feisty as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander, but Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee could give her a run for her money . . . Gripping . . . [Ava is] smart, gutsy, and resourceful.” — Stylist UK

“With Ava Lee comes a new star in the world of crime-thrillers . . . Hamilton has produced a suspenseful and gripping novel featuring a woman who is not afraid of anything . . . Captivating and hard to put down.” — dapd/sda

“Thrillers don’t always have to be Scandinavian to work. Ava Lee is a wonderful Chinese-Canadian investigator who uses unconventional methods of investigation in a mysterious Eastern setting.” — Elle (Germany)

“Ava has flair, charm, and sex appeal . . . The Water Rat of Wanchai is a successful first book in a series, which will definitely have you longing for more.” — Sonntag-Express

“Hamilton is in the process of writing six books and film rights have already been sold. If the other cases are similar to this first one, Ava Lee is sure to quickly shake up Germany’s thriller business.” — Handelsblatt

“Brilliantly researched and incredibly exciting!” — Bücher

“Page-turning till the end of the book! . . . Ava Lee is the upcoming crime star.” dpa

“Exciting thriller debut with an astonishing end.” — Westdeutsche Zeitung

“Seldom does one get a thriller about white-collar crime, with an intelligent, independent lesbian and Asian protagonist. It’s also rare to find a book with such interesting and exotic settings . . . Readers will find great amusement in Ava’s unconventional ways and will certainly enjoy accompanying her on her travels.” — Literaturkurier


Finalist, Barry Award for Best Original Trade Paperback

“I started to read The Disciple of Las Vegas at around ten at night. And I did something I have only done with two other books (Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Douglas Coupland’s Player One): I read the novel in one sitting. Ava Lee is too cool. She wonderfully straddles two worlds and two identities. She does some dastardly things and still remains our hero thanks to the charm Ian Hamilton has given her on the printed page. It would take a female George Clooney to portray her in a film. The action and plot move quickly and with power. Wow. A punch to the ear, indeed.” — J. J. Lee, author of The Measure of a Man

“I loved The Water Rat of Wanchai, the first novel featuring Ava Lee. Now, Ava and Uncle make a return that’s even better . . . Simply irresistible.” — Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

“This is slick, fast-moving escapism reminiscent of Ian Fleming, with more to come in what shapes up as a high-energy, high-concept series.” — Booklist

“Fast paced . . . Enough personal depth to lift this thriller above solely action-oriented fare.” — Publishers Weekly

“Lee is a hugely original creation, and Hamilton packs his adventure with interesting facts and plenty of action.” — Irish Independent

“Hamilton makes each page crackle with the kind of energy that could easily jump to the movie screen . . . This riveting read will keep you up late at night.” — Penthouse

“Hamilton gives his reader plenty to think about . . . Entertaining.” — Kitchener-Waterloo Record


Lambda Literary Award Finalist: Lesbian Mystery

“Smart and savvy Ava Lee returns in this slick mystery set in the rarefied world of high art . . . [A] great caper tale. Hamilton has great fun chasing villains and tossing clues about. The Wild Beasts of Wuhan is the best Ava Lee novel yet, and promises more and better to come.” — Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

“One of my favourite new mystery series, perfect escapism.” — National Post

“As a mystery lover, I’m devouring each book as it comes out . . . What I love in the novels: The constant travel, the high-stakes negotiation, and Ava’s willingness to go into battle against formidable opponents, using only her martial arts skills to defend herself . . . If you want a great read and an education in high-level business dealings, Ian Hamilton is an author to watch.” — Toronto Star

“Fast-paced and very entertaining.” — Montreal Gazette

“Ava Lee is definitely a winner.” — Saskatoon Star Phoenix

“The Wild Beasts of Wuhan is an entertaining dip into potentially fatal worlds of artistic skulduggery.” — Sudbury Star

“Hamilton uses Ava’s investigations as comprehensive and intriguing mechanisms for plot and character development.” — Quill & Quire

“You haven’t seen cold and calculating until you’ve double-crossed this number cruncher. Another strong entry from Arthur Ellis Award–winner Hamilton.” — Booklist

“An intelligent kick-ass heroine anchors Canadian author Hamilton’s excellent third novel featuring forensic accountant Ava Lee . . . Clearly conversant with the art world, Hamilton makes the intricacies of forgery as interesting as a Ponzi scheme.” — Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“A lively series about Ava Lee, a sexy forensic financial investigator.” — Tampa Bay Times

“This book is miles from the ordinary. The main character, Ava Lee is ‘the whole package.’” — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A strong heroine is challenged to discover the details of an intercontinental art scheme. Although Hamilton’s star Ava Lee is technically a forensic accountant, she’s more badass private investigator than desk jockey.” — Kirkus Reviews


“Ava Lee is too cool. She wonderfully straddles two worlds and two identities. She does some dastardly things and still remains our hero thanks to the charm Ian Hamilton has given her on the printed page. It would take a female George Clooney to portray her in a film. The action and plot move quickly and with power. Wow. A punch to the ear, indeed.” — J. J. Lee, author of The Measure of a Man

“Ava Lee returns as one of crime fiction’s most intriguing characters. The Red Pole of Macau is the best page-turner of the season from the hottest writer in the business!” — John Lawrence Reynolds, author of Beach Strip

“Ava Lee, that wily, wonderful hunter of nasty business brutes, is back in her best adventure ever . . . If you haven’t yet discovered Ava Lee, start here.” — Globe and Mail

“The best in the series so far.” — London Free Press

“Ava [Lee] is a character we all could use at one time or another. Failing that, we follow her in her best adventure yet.” — Hamilton Spectator

“A romp of a story with a terrific heroine.” — Saskatoon Star Phoenix

“Fast-paced . . . The action unfolds like a well-oiled action-flick.” — Kitchener-Waterloo Record

“A change of pace for our girl [Ava Lee] . . . Suspenseful.” — Toronto Star

“Hamilton packs tremendous potential in his heroine . . . A refreshingly relevant series. This reader will happily pay House of Anansi for the fifth instalment.” — Canadian Literature


“Hamilton deepens Ava’s character, and imbues her with greater mettle and emotional fire, to the extent that book five is his best, most memorable, to date.” — National Post

“In today’s crowded mystery market, it’s no easy feat coming up with a protagonist who stands out from the pack. But Ian Hamilton has made a great job of it with his Ava Lee books. Young, stylish, Chinese Canadian, lesbian, and a brilliant forensic accountant, Ava is as complex a character as you could want . . . [A] highly addictive series . . . Hamilton knows how to keep the pages turning. He eases us into the seemingly tame world of white-collar crime, then raises the stakes, bringing the action to its peak with an intensity and violence that’s stomach-churning. His Ava Lee is a winner and a welcome addition to the world of strong female avengers.” — NOW Magazine

“Most of the series’ success rests in Hamilton’s tight plotting, attention to detail, and complex powerhouse of a heroine: strong but vulnerable, capable but not impervious . . . With their tight plotting and crackerjack heroine, Hamilton’s novels are the sort of crowd-pleasing, narrative-focused fiction we find all too rarely in this country.” — Quill and Quire

“Ava is such a cool character, intelligent, Chinese-Canadian, unconventional, and original . . . Irresistible.” — Owen Sound Sun Times


A National Bestseller

“There are plenty of surprises waiting for Ava, and for the reader, all uncovered with great satisfaction.” — National Post

“Ian Hamilton’s great new Ava Lee mystery has the same wow factor as its five predecessors. The plot is complex and fast-paced, the writing tight, and its protagonist is one of the most interesting female avengers to come along in a while.” — NOW Magazine (NNNN)

“The appeal of the Ava Lee series owes much to her brand name lifestyle; it stirs pleasantly giddy emotions to encounter such a devotedly elegant heroine. But, better still, the detailing of financial shenanigans is done in such clear language that even readers who have trouble balancing their bank books can appreciate the way conmen set out to fleece unsuspecting victims.” — Toronto Star

“Hamilton has a unique gift for concocting sizzling thrillers.” — Edmonton Journal

“Hamilton has this formula down to an art, but he manages to avoid cliché and his ability to evoke a place keeps the series fresh.” — Globe and Mail

“From her introduction in The Water Rat of Wanchai, Ava Lee has stood as a stylish, street-smart leading lady whose resourcefulness and creativity have helped her to uncover criminal activity in everything from illegal online gambling rings to international art heists. In Hamilton’s newest installment to the series, readers accompany Ava on great adventures and to interesting locales, roaming from Hong Kong to the Netherlands to Borneo. The pulse-pounding, fast-paced narrative is chocked full of divergent plot twists and intriguing personalities that make it a popular escapist summer read. The captivating female sleuth does not disappoint as she circles the globe on a quest to uncover an unusually intriguing investment fiasco involving fraud, deception and violence.” — ExpressMilwaukee.com

“Ava may be the most chic figure in crime fiction.” — Hamilton Spectator

“The series as a whole is as good as the modern thriller genre gets.” — The Cord


“One of Ian Hamilton’s best.” — Globe and Mail

“Ava would be a sure thing to whip everybody, Putin included, at the negotiating table.” — Toronto Star

“After six novels starring Chinese-Canadian Ava Lee and her perilously thrilling exploits, best-selling Canadian author Ian Hamilton has jolted his creation out of what wasn’t even yet a rut and hurled her abruptly into a new circumstance, with fresh ambitions.” — London Free Press

“It's a measure of Hamilton's quality as a thriller writer that he compels your attention even before he starts ratcheting up the suspense.” — Regina Leader Post

“An unputdownable book that I would highly recommend for all.” — Words of Mystery

“Ava is as powerful and brilliant as ever.” — Literary Treats

“Fast-paced suspense, exotic locales, and a rich cast of characters ... make for yet another hugely entertaining hit.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Good fun, too, for those who like to combine crime fiction with armchair traveling.” — Booklist


“Like the best series writers — Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson come to mind — Hamilton manages to keep the Ava Lee books fresh . . . a compulsive read, a page-turner of the old school . . . The Princeling of Nanjing is a welcome return of an old favourite, and bodes well for future books.” — Quill and Quire

“One of those grip tight novels that makes one read ‘just one more chapter’ and you discover it’s 3 a.m. The novel is built on complicated webs artfully woven into clear, magnetic story telling. Author Ian Hamilton delivers the intrigue within complex and relentless webs in high style and once again proves that everyone, once in their lives, needs an Ava Lee at their backs.” — Canadian Mystery Reviews

“Hamilton uses his people and plot to examine Chinese class and power structures that open opportunities for massive depravities and corruptions.” — London Free Press

“Ava Lee has a new business, a new look, and, most important, a new Triad boss to appreciate her particular financial talents . . . We know that Ava will come up with a plan and Hamilton will come up with a twist.” — Globe and Mail

“As usual with a Hamilton-Lee novel, matters take a decided twist as the plot unrolls.” — Owen Sound Sun Times

“A terrific addition to the Ava Lee canon, a must read.” — CBC Homerun

“[An] exotic thriller that also offers a fascinating inside look at fiscal misconduct in China . . . Hamilton’s heroine is one of a kind. Ava is gay, a diminutive five-foot-three, a ruthless martial-arts adversary, a brilliant forensic accountant and a woman whose own unique moral code sometimes has her operating on the fringes of the law — but only, we would like to believe, in order to deal with the really bad guys. As a unique character, she's become indispensable.” — Calgary Herald

“The reader is offered plenty of Ava in full flower as the Chinese-Canadian glamour puss who happens to be gay, whip smart, and unafraid of whatever dangers come her way.” — Toronto Star


“Combines lots of action with Ava’s acute intelligence and ability to solve even the most complex problems” — Lit Hub

“The best of the series so far.” — Globe and Mail

“One of his best . . . Tightly plotted and quick-moving, this is a spare yet terrifically suspenseful novel.” — Publishers Weekly

“Fast-paced, smoothly written, and fun.” — London Free Press

“An engrossing novel.” — Reviewing the Evidence

“Hamilton’s rapid-fire storytelling moves the along at breakneck speed, as Ava globe-trots to put clues together. Hamilton has always had a knack for combining Fleming-style descriptors with modern storytelling devices and character beats, and this book is no different.” — The Mind Reels

“An engaging and compelling mystery.” — Literary Treats


“Hamilton provides a fascinating peek into a disturbingly glamorous world.” — Publishers Weekly

“Another action-packed entry in a solid series.” — Booklist

Customer Reviews