Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau is summoned by an official of the party to take the lead in a corruption investigation - one where the principle figure and his family have long since fled to the United States and beyond the reach of the Chinese government. But he left behind the organization and his partners-in-crime, and Inspector Chen is charged to uncover those responsible and act as necessary to end the corruption ring. In a twisting case that takes him from Shanghai, all the way to the U.S., reuniting him with his previous cohort from the U.S. Marshall's service - Inspector Catherine Rhon.
In such a climate as modern-day Shanghai it could be argued that, in such a climate, it is not possible to remain strictly honest to the letter of the law, and thus it is up to the individual's own conscience to toe that very fine line between what is morally right and wrong. Inspector Chen's awareness of this quandary and his desire to do the right thing, coupled with his frequent revulsion at his occupation, are what make him a truly noble figure. The potential for corruption is constantly presented to him like tasty dim sum, but he resists, even though so many around him are gorging themselves on the opportunities. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The Washington Post - Richard Lipez
There's something especially brave and noble about a cop who perseveres under these circumstances. Readers who love China will be heartened, as this gritty, suspenseful tale unfolds, to discover that Inspector Chen is far from alone in his quest to build a humane Chinese society.
Chen's literary sensibility and Xiaolong's incisive portrait of modern China, mixed with traditional gumshoe exploits, make for heady entertainment.
Booklist - Thomas Gaughan
Character, poetry, insights into Chinese society and culture, and food all come before story in this unusual and compelling crime novel, the fourth in a fascinating series.
His characters are expertly drawn, his prose superb and interlaced with thought-provoking poetry that depicts what is being lost in China.
Starred Review. Chen stands in a class with Martin Cruz Smith's Russian investigator, Arkady Renko, and P.D. James's Scotland Yard inspector, Adam Dalgliesh.
In 1911 the Qing Dynasty was
overthrown, ending 2000 years of
imperial rule. There were many
revolutionary groups but the most
organized was founded by Dr Sun
In WWI the Chinese government
sided with the Allies. In return
they were promised that the German
concessions (foreign territories
within a country) in Shangdong
province would be returned to
Chinese control; at the time China,
especially the coastal areas, were a
mass of foreign concessions,
colonies and treaty ports, owned by
Britain, France, Germany, Russia,
Japan and others. However, not only
was the territory not handed back,
it was awarded to the Japanese. On
May 4, 1919 Beijing students
demonstrated in Tiananmen Square,
starting the nationalistic movement
When the wife of a North Korean diplomat in Pakistan dies under suspicious circumstances, O is told to investigate, with a curious proviso: Dont look too closely at the details, and stay away from the question of missiles. Soon, however, the Inspector discovers he is up to his ears in missiles - and somebody wants him dead.
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