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The Mao Case: Book summary and reviews of The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong

The Mao Case

An Inspector Chen Novel

by Qiu Xiaolong

The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong X
The Mao Case by Qiu Xiaolong
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  • Published Mar 2009
    320 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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.

This information about The Mao Case was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Qiu Xiaolong Author Biography

Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai, China. He published prize-winning poetry, translation and criticism in Chinese in the eighties, and became a member of the Chinese Writers' Association. In 1988, he came to the United States as a Ford Foundation Fellow, started writing in English, and obtained a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Washington University. He is the author of Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006), Red Mandarin Dress (2007), The Mao Case (2009), Don't Cry, Tai Lake (2012), Enigma of China (2013), Shanghai Redemption (2015), and Becoming Inspector Chen (in French and Italian, 2016 and 2017) in the critically acclaimed, award-winning Inspector Chen series; a collection of linked stories Years of Red ...

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Name Pronunciation
Qiu Xiaolong: chew shao-long (shao rhymes with how)

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