Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
Published 1983, Bantam Books
Martha Macnamara comes to San Francisco to see her daughter, a genius computer programmer, only to discover she’s missing. At the hotel Martha meets Mayland Long, an ancient black dragon taking the form of a human in order to seek enlightenment. Mayland is enchanted by Martha and agrees to help her find her daughter, Elizabeth.
This is, on the whole, a charming book. The first half somewhat more so than the second half. The set up, Martha and Mayland’s developing relationship, is delightfully engaging. Once the chase for Elizabeth starts, however, the tone of the book shifts. After a few clues are followed, and it starts to become clear what the mystery is, Martha is relegated to damsel in distress. Her ending seems unworthy of her character and is a sour note in an otherwise sweet tale. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of how Mayland responds to sunlight.
This is one of the books given to me by my emigrating friend and I picked it out of a stack because of the cover. I like the picture of the dragon statue. Surprisingly, it matches the description inside the book. Tea with the Black Dragon is interesting and unusual and worth a read.