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When Red is Black: Inspector Chen 3 (As heard on Radio 4)

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When Red is Black

Inspector Chen 3 (As heard on Radio 4)

By Qiu Xiaolong

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Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 January 2007
Now a BBC Radio 4 Drama Series.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.

Promotional Information

The third in the acclaimed Inspector Chen series set in 1990s Shanghai - 'Sublime ... complex and riveting' Washington Post

Promotional Information

The third in the acclaimed Inspector Chen series set in 1990s Shanghai - 'Sublime ... complex and riveting' Washington Post

About the Author

Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai. He was selected for membership of the Chinese Writers' Association and published poetry, translations and criticism in China. He has lived in the United States since 1989 and has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature awarded by Washington University. His work has been published in many literary magazines in America and in several anthologies. He has been the recipient of the Missouri Biennial Award, the Prairie Schooner Readers' Choice Award, a Yaddo and a Ford Foundation Fellowship. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter.

Reviews

Like its predecessors Death of a Red Heroine (2000) and A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), Qiu's third Inspector Chen mystery provides an insightful look into modern China. When Yin Lige, the author of a banned book, is found murdered in her Shanghai apartment, detective Yu Guangming and his boss, Chief Inspector Chen Cao, must solve a case that may have far-reaching political and social implications. (The "red" of the title refers to Mao Zedong's Red Guard, the "black" to the supposed enemies of the working class denounced during the Cultural Revolution.) Yu doggedly pursues all leads, even as personal misfortunes threaten to ruin his life. Chen must help from afar as he takes time off to earn extra income translating business documents for an ambitious entrepreneur. Suspects range from the poignant "shrimp woman," who peels shrimp for a living, to possible enemies from the distant past. Yu soon uncovers the long-ago romance between the victim and Yang Bing, a college professor. This love affair, delicately rendered, allows the author to include many fragile but beautiful Chinese poems. Deftly depicting a China fractured along class and party lines even in matters of love, Qiu also dramatically demonstrates how the past affects the daily lives of Chinese people today. Only a banal solution to the mystery spoils an otherwise engrossing read. (July 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

'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 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 'Compelling' -- Times-Picayune (New Orleans) 'A vivid portrait of modern Chinese society ... full of the sights, sounds and smells of Shanghai ... A work of real distinction.' -- Wall Street Journal 'These are mysteries to savor.' -- Booklist (starred review) '[A] terrific series ... a cultural twist and unusual direction that make [Qiu's] books well worth reading.' -- Rocky Mountain News 'Shanghai in transition ... fascinating' -- Kirkus Reviews 'Insightful.' -- Publishers Weekly 'The most sophisticated of the series to date and one feels Qiu pushing the envelope of the detective series genre.' -- Asian Review of Books 'A terrific murder mystery.' -- Midwest Book Review 'Captivating and intriguing.' -- Mystery News 'With strong and subtle characterisation, Qiu Xiaolong draws us into a fascinating world where the greatest mystery revealed is the mystery of present-day China itself.' -- John Harvey 'As modern China's profile rises, so too does the stock of literature from and about it. But Shanghai-born Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen detective series is one of the freshest and most unpredictable of the lot. He is deft at delivering clever insights and plot twists that entangle both Communist Party officials and their critics. His protagonist, Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau, tracks down murderers and cheats against the backdrop of ordinary folks struggling to reconcile social upheaval and their lingering nostalgia for Chairman Mao. An honest cop whose personal ethics often conflict with the politically expedient orders from above, Chen embodies the confusion--both ideological and spiritual--that haunts modern China.' -- Newsweek '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 'Aluminescent 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) 'As modern China's profile rises, so too does the stock of literature from and about it. But Shanghai-born Qiu Xiaolong's Inspector Chen detective series is one of the freshest and most unpredictable of the lot.' -- Newsweek

EAN: 9780340897560
ISBN: 0340897562
Publisher: Sceptre
Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 2 centimetres (0.14 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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