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Red Mandarin Dress: An Inspector Chen Novel (Inspector Chen Cao) Paperback – February 3, 2009
Blood on the Tracks (Sydney Rose Parnell Series)
Ghosts of war haunt a former Marine turned railroad cop as she investigates a savage murder. Learn More
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“The first-rate characterizations and elegant portrait of a society attempting to move from rigid Maoist ideologies to an accommodation with capitalism will keep readers engaged and eager for more.” ―Publisher's Weekly
“In this fifth entry in an outstanding series...author Qiu captures the bustling atmosphere of modern China coming to grips with its Communist roots. Patrons who enjoy mysteries set in today's China, such as those by Peter May, will want this one.” ―Library Journal (starred review)
“The author's heady plot highlights his strenghts, elegantly capturing China in transition. A fascinating read.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Top Customer Reviews
The murder is an interesting crime with roots in the Cultural Revolution, and a sub-plot about Chen working on an MA degree folded neatly into the pursuit of the killer. The regular characters all move forward in their development, and you get a far better picture of Inspector Chen as a man trapped in a career which is is good at, but which doesn't satisfy his soul.
A few reviews of the previous books have been critical of the amount of poetry and food conversation - well, here the right balance is struck. And even the rather disturbing "live monkey brain" (or as Chen calls them - cruel dishes) plays into the plot near the end. For me, I'll stick to cashew chicken.
The only down side is that the book is read and I probably have another 12 months to wait for the next one!
-Gives a very nice picture of the city of Shanghai, and more importantly, of the divide between rich and poor, capitalism and socialism, as well as giving the reader an incredibly interesting look at life in China in the late 1990's.
-The book is nicely seasoned with numerous descriptions of food, everywhere from a cheap box dinner to a banquet of delicacies, and the use of quotations from Chinese poetry (while at time distracting and seemingly pointless) often adds to the story.
-The numerous pressures on Mr. Chen and his colleagues, particularly his handling of political circumstances, and his ability to both investigate crime, deal with his literature paper, and his (possible) dealings with White Cloud are interesting to follow.
-Barely half way through the novel, the suspect becomes obvious and the mystery is essentially resolved. The last third of the book becomes quite boring and essentailly a chore to read.
-Mr. Chen's meeting with the suspect is incredibly unrealistic and far too overdone. The calling in of favors, the preparation of "cruel dishes", the use of White Cloud, etc., is all quite unnecessary and far from providing an exciting apex, is actually an exercise in tedium.
-Mr. Chen's handling of the case at the end is quite inept and a sharp contrast from his earlier (brilliant) investigation and handling of the case. It was really painful to sit through it.
-The conclusion is unsatisfying. While no one expects "sad" or "happy" endings nowadays, the way this case ended was foolish.
So, while the novel is interesting, and at a little over 300 pages a quick read (five hours or less,) I was less than impressed, particularly given the numerous five star reviews.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Marvelously descriptive of life in China at that time; political intrigue; police...Read more