Sunday, December 11, 2011

BW50: X is for Qui Xiaolong

 Qiu Xiaolong

I just finished reading "Death of the Red Heroine" by novelist and poet Qiu Xiaolong, book one in his inspector Chen series and found it to be extremely interesting.  Set in the mid 1990's in China, it was a police procedural blending fact and fiction delving into the politics and culture of the country.  Publisher's Weekly says:

"Set a decade ago in Shanghai, this political mystery offers a peek into the tightly sealed, often crooked world of post-Tiananmen Square China. Chen Cao, a poet and T.S. Eliot translator bureaucratically assigned to be chief inspector, has to investigate the murder of Guan Hongying, a young woman celebrated as a National Model Worker, but who kept her personal life strictly and mysteriously confidential. Chen and his comrade, Detective Yu, take turns interviewing Guan's neighbors and co-workers, but it seems most of them either know nothing or are afraid to talk openly about a deceased, highly regarded public figure. Maybe they shouldn't be so uneasy, some characters reason; after all, these are "modern times" and socialist China is taking great leaps toward free speech. Chen and Yu make headway when they stumble on Wu Xiaoming, senior editor of Red Star magazine, who apparently was involved with Guan before her death. Tiptoeing around touchy politics and using investigative tactics bordering on blackmail, Chen slowly pieces together the motives behind the crime. The author, himself a poet and critic, peppers the story with allusions to classical Chinese literature, juxtaposing poignant poetry with a gruesome murder so that the novel reads like the translation of an ancient text imposed over a modern tale of intrigue. This is an impressive and welcome respite from the typical crime novel."

I discovered Qui Xiaolong while searching for an author whose name begins with X for my a to z by title challenge.  Glad I discovered him and look forward to reading more of his Detective Chen novels. The books in the series are:

Death of a Red Heroine
A Loyal Character Dancer 

When Red is Black

A Case of Two Cities

Red Mandarin Dress 

The Mao Case

Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog url.

If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post.


  1. I've got a review ready to go but it's not live until Thursday. I did finish about 5 alternative paranormal romances. Shifters :D

  2. Oh, dear, I have 5 books to go this year! Better get reading!

    Annie Kate

  3. only 2 more weeks to go, this was a very difficult challenge, which surprised me! I thought it would be easy. FYI--the war and peace read-a-long is extending into next year.

  4. Hi Robin,

    Your book sounds fab! Since I'm late to the game for 2011, I took the liberty of linking up my last few reads... I'm looking forward to participating in the 2012 challenge!


  5. I already fear that I'm going to fail at this. ;o)

  6. @Kentucky Farm Girl. No, no. no. There are no failures in my challenge. You haven't even started yet. Positive energy flowing your way.


Thank you for your kind comments.