Enigma of China: Book summary and reviews of Enigma of China by Qiu Xiaolong

Enigma of China

An Inspector Chen Novel

By Qiu Xiaolong

Enigma of China
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2013,
    288 pages.

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Book Summary

Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Department is in an unusual situation - a poet by training and inclination, he was assigned by the party to the Police Department after he graduated college, where he has continued to shine.  Now he's a rising cadre in the party, in line to take over the top politic position in the police department, while being one of most respected policeman in the department. Which is why he's brought in by the Party to sign off on the investigation into the death of Zhou Keng. 

Zhou Keng - a trusted princeling, son of a major party member - was head of the Shanghai Housing Development Committee when a number of his corrupt practices were exposed on the internet.  Removed from his position and placed into extra-legal detention, Zhou apparently hanged himself while under guard.  While the Party is anxious to have Zhou's death declared a suicide, and for the renowned Chief Inspector Chen to sign off on that conclusion, the sequence of events don't quite add up. Now Chen will have to decide what to do – investigate the death as a possible homicide and risk angering unseen powerful people, or seek the justice that his position requires him to strive for.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This installment approaches the levels of Eliot Pattison and James Church's similarly themed novels, and the series has gotten stronger with age." - Publishers Weekly

"In addition to being a wonderful character study and surprise-packed mystery, Qiu's latest is a many-faceted study of contemporary China." - Booklist

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Author Information

Qiu Xiaolong Author Biography

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 ...

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Name Pronunciation
Qiu Xiaolong: chew-shao-long

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