A writer friend of mine, Joan Drury (she owns Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, MN) recommended this book to me during a recent trip. She said Qiu is one of her new favorite authors. It was a great recommendation!
The book is actually sixth in a detective series set in Shanghai, China with the main character, Chief Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Bureau. The book’s author, Xiaolong, is a translator and poet who lives in the states now. This book includes many quotations of classic Chinese poetry, as well as some of his own.
I spent a lot of time in Shanghai during a previous job working with engineers and field associates developing, designing, constructing and starting up a manufacturing facility. The realism of Xiaolong’s scenes, his characters and their speech patterns appealed to me greatly. He created a tremendous mystery that would only work, in my evaluation, in the Chinese society. It was based on their history, honor and belief system.
Inspector Chen is a warm, human character that does his job well and I am looking forward to going back to read his previous adventures. I’ll also be checking out some of Qiu Xiaolong’s other writing from his website.