Death in Shanghai

Death of a Red Heroine is a surprisingly engaging read. Written by a Chinese author, who's been living in the States for some years, this is the first in a series of mystery novels featuring Inspector Chen, a policeman in early 1990's Shanghai.

I found it initially a little hard to get into. The English, especially the dialogue, was often rather stilted, and I wasn't too sure whether this was intentional, or was down to the author's knowledge of English as a second language. Although it remained stilted throughout, this proved to be a surprisingly charming read. There was a good solid mystery at the heart of the novel, and some clever plotting including the pitting of the principal characters against the dangerous face of authority just post-Tianamen Square. What really shone through though was the character development, the characters are truly charming, and their loyalty and love for each other transformed what would otherwise have been a fairly standard detective story. I would certainly recommend this as an unusual read, with a rather different background from the norm, and look forward to reading more in the series. Highly recommended.


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