Ian Hamilton Books In Order

Publication Order of Ava Lee Books

The Water Rat of Wanchai (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Disciple of Las Vegas (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Wild Beasts of Wuhan (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Pole of Macau (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dragon Head of Hong Kong (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Two Sisters of Borneo (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The King of Shanghai (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Princeling of Nanjing (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chronological Order of Ava Lee Books

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong is a prequel story to the Ava Lee series. It is currently only available in some editions of The Water Rat of Wanchai or on

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Children's Crusade (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

A former civil servant (and journalist, with works that have appeared in the Calgary Herald and Maclean’s Boston), Ian Hamilton is a fairly well known Canadian Mystery writer. He’s best known for Ava Lee; a crime series that follows Ava Lee, a Chinese Canadian Forensic accountant whose job it is to pursue bad debts. Ian has won numerous awards for his crime/mystery novels.


Born 1946 in Chirk in Wales, Ian Hamilton went to school in Scotland for a while, undergoing and finishing the majority of his education in Canada. He began his career as a journalist with the Leader-Post in Regina, eventually finding his way to the Calgary Albertan, transitioning to the Calgary Herald and finally finding a place as the Director of Communications of ‘The Company of Young Canadians’ a Canadian Government organization.

He would continue to undertake numerous roles as a civil servant for the Canadian government, these including Director of Regional Operations for Information Canada, Regional Director for Ontario and Director of Communications for Consumer and Corporate affairs, Director General of Communications and Policy Development for Fisheries and Oceans, and Canada’s Consul and Trade Commissioner for New England to mention but a few.

Ian Hamilton eventually abandoned the government, choosing to go into business; he would go on to manage a number of companies such as The All Natural Seafood Company and The Rhyn Company, Ian’s work taking him to over thirty countries during his career.

Writing Career

Ian Hamilton’s renown as a writer can be imputed to his series of detective novels featuring Ava Lee, a forensic accountant. Ian has admitted to utilizing his experiences in the numerous countries he has visited around the world (especially Southeast Asia) in crafting the various plots that litter the Ava Lee series of novels. The novels have endeared the author to the Chinese Canadian community.

For his troubles, the Ava Lee novels as well as his other works have attracted to Ian Hamilton numerous awards and honors. ‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ was the recipient of the Arthur Ellis award for best first crime novel.

‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ was also one of Quil and Quire’s top 5 novels that year, an editor’s pick and one of the year’s best 100 books (from Amazon). Ian Hamilton can also boast of recognition from the Barry award as well as the Lambda Award.

Ian Hamilton has written numerous books in the Ava Lee series of novels, each of which has been optioned for film; a TV series is also currently in development under the auspices of a partnership between a Canadian and American Network.

The Dragon Head of Hong Kong

Ava Lee is a young forensic accountant and she has only recently opened her own private firm. Hedrick Lo is a desperate man. Having just been swindled out of more than a million dollars by Johnny Kung, a Chinese Importer, Hedrick turns to Ava Lee with the hope that she can contend with Johnny and retrieve Hedrick’s money. Eventually finding her way to Hong Kong with the aim of appeasing her client’s desperation, Ava will have to plunge into the dangerous underground collection business, there meeting someone that will leave her life changed forever.

Many readers have described this novella as having a life of its own. The story, unlike so many other crime/mystery novels, strives to find a satisfying conclusion where every question fans might have had about Ava Lee and Ian Hamilton’s entire series, is finally answered.

Some people might complain about the novel; after all ‘The Dragon Head of Hong Kong’ is the shortest of all Ian Hamilton’s books. That being said the length does little to diminish the enjoyment this novel has been designed to deliver. The plot is fluid and continuously progressing, never stalling throughout the story’s run.

More importantly, the story is rather simple, nothing so complex that one might fail to grasp the rationale of its intricacies. Ian instead aims to entertain through the characters and their exploits.

Fans of the Ava Lee series are provided the opportunity to meet Ava Lee at her youngest, just as she was starting out, attempting to craft her business from the ground up even while trying to help her client collect on a debt, events that eventually thrust her into the underground of Hong Kong where she finally meets her uncle, a man around whose existence her life would continue to revolve.

‘The Dragon Head of Hong Kong’ being so short, is a very fast read. The language is also quite simple. It will intrigue and captivate. It is also the perfect novel to bring the entire series together, answering those questions readers of Ian’s novels will have been asking ever since the first novel in the Ava Lee series

The Water Rat of Wanchai

Ava Lee is a small young Chinese Canadian Forensic accountant; she works for an elderly Hong Kong Based Man she calls uncle. The world of a forensic accountant can be shady and violent, especially in the underground circles that Ava often travels. But Ava has a sharp mind and intelligence that has allowed her to overcome these obstacles in her efforts to track large sums of money across continents, going beyond the call of duty and utilizing unorthodox methods to achieve success where traditional means might have failed.

The first book in the Ava Lee series, ‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ is a fun read, albeit with a few irritating quirks. It succeeds in creating a strong yet clever and willful female protagonist that many an Ian Hamilton fan have managed to endear themselves to.

There have been readers who have complained that Ian simply failed to add a fun and positive spin to the world of banking and finance; however even these readers admitted to finding the novel difficult to put down, not only because of the simple language but the intriguing mystery. If there are noteworthy criticisms about ‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ they would have to be about Ava Lee herself, not her character or personality but the surprising amount of time Ian pours into explaining the most mundane of her daily life and activities, with many fans hoping that Ian will tone down the exposition in the next novel in the series.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ian Hamilton