The third in the acclaimed Inspector Chen series set in 1990s Shanghai - 'Sublime . . . complex and riveting' Washington Post
When Inspector Chen Cao agrees to do a translation job for a Triad-connected businessman he is given a laptop, a 'little secretary' to provide for his every need, medical care for his mother. There are, it seems, no strings attached . . .
Then a murder is reported: Chen is loath to shorten his working holiday, so Sergeant Yu is forced to take charge of the investigation. The victim, a middle-aged teacher, has been found dead in her tiny room in a converted multi-family house. Only a neighbour could have committed the crime, but there is no motive.
It is only when Chen returns and starts to investigate the past that he finds answers. But by then he has troubles of his own.
This third novel offers further fascinating insights into a country and procedures so far neglected by mystery fiction. Chen is a great creation, an honourable man in a world full of deception and treachery who is trying hard to apprehend the new world of China in transition, where communism still reigns but blatant capitalism is also tolerated, with its ensuing waves of criminality . . . Connections and motives unfold like clockwork, and make for a great read. - Guardian
Chen is a great creation, an honourable man in a world full of deception and treachery - Guardian
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
Chen is the fascinating creation of poet and translator Qiu Xiaolong . . . As in Qiu's first two books, the ghosts of Mao's bloody Cultural Revolution . . . lead to murder. - Chicago Tribune
Read When Red is Black for insights into understanding today's Shanghai and China. - St. Louis Post Dispatch
A luminescent synthesis of a thriller and a literary novel - Independent on A LOYAL CHARACTER DANCER
Chen stands in a class with Martin Cruz Smith's Russian investigator, Arkady Renko, and P.D. James's Scotland Yard inspector, Adam Dalgliesh. - Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
Compelling - Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
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.