The ninth novel in Qiu Xiaolong's acclaimed Chinese crime series sees Inspector Chen stripped of his title and his power, and facing the deadliest case of his career.
'The system has no place for a cop who puts justice above the interests of the Party. It's a miracle that I survived as long as I did.'
For years, Chen Cao managed to balance the interests of the Communist Party and the demands made by his job. He was considered a rising star until, after one too many controversial cases that embarrassed powerful men, he found himself neutralised. Under the guise of a promotion, he's been stripped of his title and his influence, discredited and isolated. Soon it becomes clear that his enemies still aren't satisfied, and that someone is attempting to have him killed - quietly.
Chen has been charged with the investigation into a 'Red Prince' - a high Party figure who embodies the ruthless ambition, greed and corruption that is on the rise in China. But with no power, few allies, and his own reputation and life on the line, he knows he is facing the most dangerous case of his career.
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.