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Shanghai in 1990. An ancient city in a country that despite the massacre of Tiananmen Square is still in the tight grip of communist control. Chief Inspector Chen, a poet with a sound instinct for self-preservation, knows the city like few others. When the body of a prominent Communist Party member is found, Chen is told to keep the party authorities informed about every lead. Also, he must keep the young woman's murder out of the papers at all costs. When his investigation leads him to the decadent offspring of high-ranking officials, he finds himself instantly removed from the case and reassigned to another area. Chen has a choice: bend to the party's wishes and sacrifice his morals, or continue his investigation and risk dismissal from his job and from the party. Or worse . . .
Inspector Chen balances his love for writing poetry against his career goal of solving crime. His desire to find the murderer of a National Model Worker pits his search for justice against party politics and powerful politicians.
Praise for Qiu Xiaolong: "A sequel [toDeath of a Red Heroine] that in many ways is even more impressive. . . . [Qiu] has moved from the poetic, exotic milieu of his first book (although plenty of elements remain) into a tougher, wider, probably more commercial and modern version of China as seen by America. "-Chicago Tribune "Another wonderful novel featuring Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Bureau . . . [for] Sinophiles like myself, who fantasize about taking an insider#x19;s tour of Shanghai. "-Maureen Corrigan, NPR#x19;sFresh Air "The travelogue aspects of the novel don#x19;t overwhelm it#x19;s critical intelligence. As in all hard-boiled [mysteries], the murder and mayhem provide a cover story for a larger investigation of social mysteries. "-Chicago Sun-Times Inspector Chen#x19;s mentor in the Shanghai Police Bureau has assigned him to escort U. S. Marshal Catherine Rohn. Her mission is to bring Wen, the wife of a witness in an important criminal trial, to the United States. Inspector Rohn is already en route when Chen learns that Wen has unaccountably vanished from her village in Fujian. Or is this just what he is supposed to believe? Chen resents his role; he would rather investigate the triad killing in Shanghai#x19;s beauteous Bund Park. But his boss insists that saving face with Inspector Rohn has priority. So Chen Cao, the ambitious son of a father who imbued him with Confucian precepts, must tread warily as he tries once again to be a good cop, a good man, and also a loyal Party member. Qiu Xiaolong, a prize-winning poet and critic in China, now teaches at Washington University in St. Louis, where he lives with his wife and daughter. From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Sublime . . . complex and riveting. "-Maureen Corrigan,The Washington Post Book World "A vivid picture of modern Chinese society . . . a work of real distinction. "-The Wall Street Journal "[A] terrific series. . . . [Qiu's] perspective on China gives the mystery genre a cultural twist and unusual direction that make his books unique and well worth reading. "-The Rocky Mountain News Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau is taking a vacation, in part because he is annoyed at his boss, Party Secretary Li, but also because he has been made an offer he can't refuse by Gu, a triad-connected businessman. For what seems to be a fortune-with no apparent strings attached- he is to translate a business proposal for the New World, a complex of shops and restaurants to be built in Central Shanghai, evoking nostalgia for the "glitter and glamour" of the 1930s. It is up to Detective Yu, Chen's partner, to take charge of a new case. Yin, a novelist, has been murdered in her room. At first it seems that only a neighbor could have committed the crime, but when one confesses, Yu cannot believe that he is really the killer. As Yu looks further into Yin's life, ample motives begin to surface, even on the part of Internal Security. But it is only when Inspector Chen steps back into the investigation that the culprit is apprehended. And then Chen discovers how Gu has played him and how he, in turn, can play the new capitalist system. Qiu Xiaolongwas born in Shanghai and received an MA in English and American literature in China. He received a PhD in comparative literature from Washington University in St. Louis, where he now teaches. He is the author ofDeath of a Red Heroine, which has now been translated into seven languages, andA Loyal Character Dancer, both available in paperback from Soho Crime. From the Trade Paperback edition.