Prizewinning debut of an extraordinary new voice in crime writing.
Shanghai in 1990. An ancient city in a country that despite the massacre of Tiananmen Square is still in the tight grip of communist control. Chief Inspector Chen, a poet with a sound instinct for self-preservation, knows the city like few others.
When the body of a prominent Communist Party member is found, Chen is told to keep the party authorities informed about every lead. Also, he must keep the young woman's murder out of the papers at all costs. When his investigation leads him to the decadent offspring of high-ranking officials, he finds himself instantly removed from the case and reassigned to another area.
Chen has a choice: bend to the party's wishes and sacrifice his morals, or continue his investigation and risk dismissal from his job and from the party. Or worse . . .
Stupendous . . . It does what detective fiction can do best: it captures the details, the grit of everyday life . . . A matchless pearl. - Fresh Air, National Public Radio, USA
Qiu Xiaolong has produced a remarkable novel . . . which portrays with skill the dangerous realities of a country on the brink of political change. Full of labyrinthine machinations, poetic interludes and reversals of fortune, DEATH OF A RED HEROINE is a complex and compelling mystery. - The Age
'a gripping tale of political murder'. - MX
Blends history, plenty of poetry and a compelling mystery: the murder of Guan Hongying, a former national role-model worker, a beautiful young woman who slipped from patriotic fame into loneliness and depravity . . . We get to see, smell, taste and hear an amazingly evocative portrait of a country. - Chicago Tribune
Chen is an irresistible protagonist, likable and determined to make the honourable choices, no matter how dangerous. Qiu's portrait of China in transition, a potential eye-opener for many of his Western readers, is an equally compelling attraction. - Kirkus Reviews
a refreshing change from the usual crime stories. - New Idea, Australia
Taking us into a world seldom seen by foreigners, this is a superb crime novel...in a word: Brilliant - Herald Sun, Australia
Superb . . . brilliant - Newsday
Qiu Xiaolong (pronounced 'Joe Shau-long') was born in Shanghai. The Cultural Revolution began in his last year of elementary school, and out of school, out of job, he studied English by himself in a local park.
In 1977, he began his studies at East China Normal University in Shanghai, and then the Chinese Academy of Social Science in Beijing. After graduation, he worked at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences as an associate research professor, published poems, translations and criticism, and became a member of the Chinese Writers' Association.
In 1988, he came to Washington University in St. Louis, U.S. as a Ford foundation fellow to do a project on Eliot, but after the Tiananmen tragedy of 1989, he decided to stay on. He then obtained a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Washington University and taught there.
Having won several awards for his poetry in English, he moved on to write a novel about contemporary Chinese society in transition, which developed into the critically acclaimed, award-winning Inspector Chen series. The series has been translated into sixteen languages. In addition, Qiu Xiaolong has published a poetry collection, several poetry translations, and a collection of linked stories (also serialized in Le Monde). He lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.