The sixth literary crime novel in the acclaimed Inspector Chen series: Chen investigates two cases connected to Mao's women.
Qiu Xiaolong (pronounced 'Joe Shau-long') was born in Shanghai. The Cultural Revolution began in his last year of elementary school, and out of school, out of job, he studied English by himself in a local park.
In 1977, he began his studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, and then the Chinese Academy of Social Science in Beijing. After graduation, he worked at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences as an associate research professor, published poems, translations and criticism, and became a member of the Chinese Writers' Association.
In 1988, he came to Washington University in St. Louis, U.S. as a Ford foundation fellow to do a project on Eliot, but after the Tiananmen tragedy of 1989, he decided to stay on. He then obtained a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Washington University and taught there.
Having won several awards for his poetry in English, he moved on to write a novel about contemporary Chinese society in transition, which developed into the critically acclaimed, award-winning Inspector Chen series. The series has been translated into sixteen languages. In addition, Qiu Xiaolong has published a poetry collection, several poetry translations, and a collection of linked stories (also serialized in Le Monde). He lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.
In his sixth series outing (after Red Mandarin Dress), Chief Inspector Chen, working directly under the Central Party Committee, must find whatever object Chairman Mao gave to an old mistress that could potentially embarrass the Chinese government. Working under cover, he ferrets out small details of Mao's relationship with the actress/mistress Sheng and her family. Chen chips away at the puzzle, which ultimately turns into a murder investigation. No one writes about modern China, still dealing with the residual effects of the Cultural Revolution and the larger-than-life image of Mao, with the sensitivity and caring of this author. For all mystery collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 11/1/08.] Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Xiaolong's astute rendering of the many contradictions of contemporary Chinese life centres on the brilliant Inspector Chen . . . A series that might well get you hooked. * Sunday Telegraph *
Chen has been likened to Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse in his cerebral sleuthing; he also has a glass-half-empty ambivalence towards his political masters...a meditation on power, myth and the policing of history. * Independent *
Chen is a great creation, an honourable man in a world full of deception and treachery. * Guardian *
With strong and subtle characterisation, Qiu Xiaolong draws us into a fascinating world where the greatest mystery revealed is the mystery of present-day China itself. -- John Harvey
The first police whodunnit written by a Chinese author in English and set in contemporary China . . . its quality matches its novelty. * The Times *
The usual enjoyable mix of murder, poetry and contradictions of contemporary Chinese culture. Chen is a splendid creation. * Independent on Sunday *
A vivid portrait of modern Chinese society . . . full of the sights, sounds and smells of Shanghai . . . A work of real distinction. * Wall Street Journal *
Qiu Xiaolong is one of the brightest stars in the firmament of modern literary crime fiction. His Inspector Chen mysteries dazzle as they entertain, combining crime with Chinese philosophy, poetry and food, Triad gangsters and corrupt officials. * Canberra Times, Australia *
Gripping . . . Chen stands in a class with Martin Cruz Smith's Russian investigator, Arkady Renko, and P.D. James's Scotland Yard inspector, Adam Dalgliesh. * Publishers Weekly *
Wonderful. * Washington Post *