Lara McClintoch is an antiques dealer who faces down an Asian gang called the Golden Lotus that is terrorizing a Canadian city's Chinatown. It seems Lara's significant other, Rob Luczka, a sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, has angered the gang and they may be targeting Lara because of her relationship with Rob.
Lara travels to New York and attempts, on behalf of her friend, Dory Matthews, to bid on a rare Tang Dynasty silver box--a box that has added value because the lid is etched with a formula for immortality. It is also a box very similar to one Dory already has.
The box is mysteriously withdrawn from the New York auction and ten days later, Dory is dead. It is learned that the box will be auctioned in Beijing and Lara travels to China (per a request in Dory's will) to bid on the box. Her rival, Burton Haldimand, turns up dead and the race is on. Lara must find the box or she might join Haldimand in death.
The Chinese Alchemist by Lyn Hamilton is the first of her novels that I've read. It's a fun, fast and easy read. Lara McClintoch is interesting, the plot takes some wonderful twists and turns and the Chinese connection is fascinating.
Armchair Interviews says: The Chinese Alchemist is recommended. You might want to check out Lyn Hamilton's other titles.