Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are in San Francisco, home of the biggest Chinatown outside Asia. Their tour guide, Holden, is going to take them to the famous Chinese New Year parade. Best of all, Holden's girlfriend, Lily, might be Miss Chinatown. She would get to ride a giant float and wear a crown!
But during the parade, Miss Chinatown goes missing, and so does the crown. The police think Holden is behind the crime. Can Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose clear their friend's name by finding the real crook?
The New Year Dragon Dilemma finally takes Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose to the west coast when they accompany Dink's father on a business trip to San Francisco's Chinatown, right in time for the Chinese New Year festivities. But their tour guide, Holden Wong, quickly finds himself on the wrong side of the law when he and his girlfriend, Lily Chen, are accused of stealing the Miss Chinatown crown--and its massive, storied ruby--right in the middle of the parade. But the kids don't believe their new friends are the real crooks, and they're prepared to prove it.
As usual, the three youngsters prove themselves more capable than actual police officers... though it helps that they aren't bound by due process. (Which renders any evidence they touch rather useless to the prosecution of these criminals, so it's pretty damn lucky that they all tend to confess by the end of the story.) They're also astoundingly capable of handling themselves in the face of some pretty extreme danger for a bunch of elementary schoolchildren, and once again, Ruth Rose demonstrates her quick-thinking (Josh gets to use his artistic skill, while Dink uses... his main characterness?) in the face of mortal peril. She's a crafty kid, that one.
It's more of the same for the series; a 120-130 page mystery that follows a trio of free-range children as they sight-see and catch criminals in various real-world settings ranging from New York City to D.C. to Key West and beyond (plus a few fictional locations, including an island kingdom in the Indian Ocean). If you like Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose's other mysteries, you'll like this one. It brings some of San Francisco's local color to the story--from Chinatown to sea lions to cable cars--and offers a small interactive element to boot.
I certainly enjoyed it, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a child-aimed mystery series.