Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Department is offered a bit of luxury by friends and supporters within the Party a week's vacation at a luxurious resort near Lake Tai, a week where he can relax, and recover, undisturbed by outside demands or disruptions. Unfortunately, the once beautiful Lake Tai, renowned for its clear waters, is now covered by fetid algae, its waters polluted by toxic runoff from local manufacturing plants.
Then the director of one of the manufacturing plants responsible for the pollution is murdered and the leader of the local ecological group is the primary suspect of the local police. Now Inspector Chen must tread carefully if he is to uncover the truth behind the brutal murder and find a measure of justice for both the victim and the accused.
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"Starred Review. Filled with beautiful descriptions and poetry (Chen is poet as well as detective) that
reinforce the beauty that is being polluted and lost. Magnificent." - Booklist
"Told with clarity and elegance, [this] portrait of modern China is as intriguing as its slow-rolling whodunit." - Kirkus Reviews
"Odd, charming... despite its political edge, the novel has an endearing innocence." - The Washington Post
"Chen works within a corrupt system and feels acutely the compromises which must be made for progress, even within the scope of his investigations. Qiu masterfully paints
shades of gray into a very Chinese tale." - The Wall Street 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
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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