In the seventh novel in this acclaimed Chinese crime series, Inspector Chen's holiday is interrupted by murder and a case that shows the true cost of his country's drive towards prosperity.
Now a BBC Radio 4 Drama Series.
When Chief Inspector Chen Cao is offered a week's break at a luxurious resort near Lake Tai, he accepts immediately. Increasingly worn out by the politics of his job, the opportunity to relax and recover sounds like heaven.
But the beautiful lake he remembers is much changed: covered by algae, its waters have been polluted by waste from local manufacturing plants. Even the local food is dangerous to eat. Is this the cost of progress in the new China?
Then his holiday is fatally disturbed: the boss of one of the most polluting businesses has been murdered and the leader of a local ecological group is the prime suspect. Inspector Chen must tread carefully if he is to uncover the truth behind the death and find justice for both the victim and the accused.
Praise for the Inspector Chen series - :
The usual enjoyable mix of murder, poetry and contractions of contemporary Chinese culture. Chen is a splendid creation, with his facility for quoting Tang Dynasty poetry and T S Eliot, his quiet devotion to his duty, his unhappy love life and his appreciation of good food. - Independent on Sunday
Qiu Xiaolong is one of the brightest stars in the firmament of modern literary crime fiction. His Inspector Chen mysteries dazzle as they entertain, combining crime with Chinese philosophy, poetry and food, Triad gangsters and corrupt officials. - Canberra Times, Australia
With strong and subtle characterisation, Qui Xiaolong draws us into a fascinating world where the greatest mystery revealed is the mystery of present-day China itself. - John Harvey
A vivid portrait of modern Chinese society...full of the sights, sounds and smells of Shanghai...A work of real distinction. - Wall Street Journal
Chen is a great creation, an honourable man in a world full of deception and treachery - Guardian
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.