Excerpt from The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Eye of Jade

A Mei Wang Mystery

by Diane Wei Liang

The Eye of Jade
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2008, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The door opened. Mei's assistant, Gupin, tumbled in, looking like a cooked lobster. Without a word, he dashed over to his desk in the entrance hall and drained a glass jar of tea that had been there since morning. He slipped the army bag from his shoulder and dropped it on the floor. "Was that Mr. Shao, the King of Hair-­Growth Serum, I saw leaving?" He looked up, catching his breath. He spoke with a faint but noticeable accent that gave him away as a country boy.

Mei nodded.

"Are you going to take his case?"

"I told him I would, but now I wonder. There is something odd about that man."

"He wears a toupee." Gupin came over with a small packet wrapped in newspaper. "I've collected five thousand yuan in cash from Mr. Su." He smiled. His face, still red from exertion, shone with pride.

Mei took the package and squeezed it gently. It felt firm. She made space for Gupin in front of the fan. "Was he difficult?" she asked. Gupin was now standing next to her, his bare arm almost touching hers. She could smell his sweat.

"At first. But he can't­ scare me or distract me with his tricks. I've seen weasels like him before, and I've traveled many roads. I know how to make sure you get your fee, Ms. Mei. People get worried when they see a migrant worker like me in that kind of place."

The word "weasel" sounded especially nasty in Gupin's accent. Mei smiled. At times like this, she couldn't­ help thinking how right she had been to hire him. And how odd it was that she had her younger sister to thank.

When Mei had opened her agency, Lu, her younger sister, was critical of the idea. "What do you know about business? Look at yourself -- you don't­ socialize, you can't­ cope with politics, you have no Guanxi -- none of the networks and contacts you need. How can you possibly succeed? Contrary to what you might think, my dear sister, running a business is tough. I know; I'm married to a successful businessman."

Mei had rolled her eyes. She was too tired to fight anymore. Since she had resigned from the Ministry of Public Security, everyone seemed to want to lecture her.

"Well, I suppose you are at the end of your rope," Lu said at last, sighing. "If you can't­ hold on to your job at the Ministry, what else can you do? You might as well work for yourself. But I can't­ watch you jump into a churning river without knowing how to swim. Let me find someone who can teach you the basics of business."

The next day Mr. Hua had called to invite Mei to his office. There, she sat on a dark leather sofa and was served coffee by his pretty secretary while Mr. Hua talked about Guanxi, about which procedures could be avoided and a few that couldn't­, about creative organization and accounting, and most of all, about the importance of having sharp eyes and ears.

"You need to be sensitive to the change of wind and policy," he said. "Make sure you always watch out for people who might stab you from behind. And one word of advice" -- Mei had quickly learned that "one word of advice" was a favorite expression of Mr. Hua -- "don't­ trust anyone who is not your friend. You want to succeed, then make sure you have a good Guanxi network, especially in high places." Mr. Hua topped up his coffee for the fifth time. "What about secretaries?" he asked Mei.

"What about them?"

"Have you thought about what kind of secretary you need?"

Mei told him that she had no plans to hire a secretary, not before she had any clients.

Mr. Hua shook his head. "You can hire someone for very little money. There are plenty of migrant workers from the provinces willing to work for almost nothing. The cost of having someone answer the phone or run errands is small, but the benefit is considerable. Your business won't­ look right without a secretary. If you don't­ look right, no one will come to you. Look around and tell me what you see."

Copyright © 2008 by The Eye of Jade Limited

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.