Using memory as a powerful tool for worldmaking, Christopher demonstrates his full capability of being a detective to connect all events and characters, such as the quarreling and mysterious disappearance of his parents, uncle Philip's abandonment of him in a crowd of strangers, Akira's worry about being forced back to Japan, Akira and his childish play of looking for his missing father, Wang Ku's conflicts with his mother before she went missing, Chinese servant Ling Tien's mysterious keeping of the magic lotion, Sarah Hemmings's going with Sir Cecil Medhusrt for a peacemaking trip to Shanghai and her consequential escape to Macau, and Christopher's direct encounter with both Chinese soldiers and Japanese invaders on the site of war.
While his memories of male characters such as his father, Uncle Philip, Sir Cecil, and the warlord Wang Ku are negative, his memories of female characters, particularly his mother, Diana Banks, and Sarah Hemmings are all positive.
For example, she largely relies on her husband for financial support for her teas and luncheons; she relies on Uncle Philip for suggestions and assistance, and she even relies on the warlord Wang Ku to use his armed forces to stop the ships from importing opium to China.
But Christopher's mother had indeed been kidnapped; after speaking her mind to one of the company's Chinese undercover agents, Wang Ku, she became a victim of the agent's desire to secure her as his own concubine and "break her spirit."
Although Uncle Philip later rationalizes to Banks that he would have been powerless to thwart Wang Ku, he simultaneously confesses that he took a vicarious pleasure in his mother's humiliation.