Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Department is the head of the Special Case group and is often put in charge of those cases that are considered politically "sensitive" since, as a rising party cadre, he's regarded by many as reliable. But Inspector Chen, though a poet by inclination and avocation, takes his job as a policeman very seriously, despite the pressures put upon him from within and without, and is unwilling to compromise his principles as a policeman in favor of political expedience.
However, after the new Minister of Public Security insists that Chen personally take on a 'special assignment', an investigation already begun by Internal Security, he may no longer be able to resist those pressures. The party, increasingly leery of international embarrassment, is unhappy about two recent books that place Mao in a bad light. Now, Jiao, the granddaughter of an actress who was likely one of Mao's mistresses - a woman suspected of being Mao's own granddaughter - has recently quit her job, moved into a luxury apartment, and, without any visible means of support, become a part of a new social set centered around the remnants of pre-Communist Shanghai society. What they fear is that, somehow, she has inherited some artifact or material related to Mao that will, when made public, prove embarrassing.
Even though there is no evidence that such even exists, Chen has been charged to infiltrate her social circle, determine if the feared material exists and, if it does, retrieve it quietly. And in only a few days - because if he can't resolve this 'Mao case' within the deadline, the party will resort to harsher, more deadly means.
"Qiu's deftly paced suspense keeps the reader flipping pages until the over-the-top climax, but what lingers is his compelling portrait of China past and present, the eternal phoenix rising from the ashes." - Publishers Weekly.
"Chen's sixth case is every bit as engrossing as its predecessors." - Kirkus Reviews.
"Starred Review. 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." - Library Journal.
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Qiu Xiaolong was born and raised in Shanghai. He managed to avoid the worst of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution
by falling ill with bronchitis at the age of 16, so he was able to stay in the
city, while his peers left to be "re-educated" in the countryside. One day
while sitting on a bench in Shanghai's Bund he noticed some people studying
an English book, that was the start of an interest that grew into an
academic specialty in modernist poetry.
He came to the US in 1988, at the age of about 30, on a Ford Foundation grant. He chose to study at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, because of his enthusiasm for the poet T.S. Eliot, who was brought up in St Louis before emigrating to the UK at the age of 25. Following the Tiananmen ...
Qiu Xiaolong: chew-shao-long
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