Red Mandarin Dress
Inspector Chen 5
By Qiu Xiaolong
Never before published fifth novel in the stunning literary crime series that has received international critical acclaim.
Now a BBC Radio 4 Drama Series.
Political corruption, capitalist greed and past injustices are all revealed when Inspector Chen investigates a serial killer in Shanghai.
An early morning jogger found her. Clad in nothing but a red mandarin dress, she had been dumped, barely concealed, on a traffic island. The death of a dancing girl was unpleasant but this was particularly unusual in that she had been left openly in the centre of town. She had probably angered one of the Mr Big Bucks that were taking over and transforming Shanghai.
Inspector Chen is an intuitive investigator, a talented poet and an honourable man on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Desperate to find a way to release himself from the perilous police career that had been chosen for him, he takes time off to begin an MA in Literature. Then another girl is found dead . . . With a serial killer on the loose. Chen is pulled back to work and into his most dangerous assignment yet.
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.
- Other details
- Publication date:
24 Jul 2008
- Page count:
Intriguing ... pertinent ... intelligent — New York Times
A thrilling crime story and also an absorbing look at modern China. — The Herald
Xiaolong's astute rendering of the many contradictions of contemporary Chinese life centres on the brilliant Inspector Chen . . . A series that might well get you hooked. — Sunday Telegraph
Atmospheric and rich in behind the scenes detail . . . Morse of the Far East. — Independent
Chen is a great creation, an honourable man in a world full of deception and treachery. — Guardian
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
The first police whodunnit written by a Chinese author in English and set in contemporary China . . . its quality matches its novelty. — The Times
The usual enjoyable mix of murder, poetry and contradictions of contemporary Chinese culture. Chen is a splendid creation. — Independent on Sunday
A vivid portrait of modern Chinese society . . . full of the sights, sounds and smells of Shanghai . . . A work of real distinction. — Wall Street Journal
Qiu Xiaolong is one of the brightest stars in the firmament of modern literary crime fiction. His Inspector Chen mysteries dazzle as they entertain, combining crime with Chinese philosophy, poetry and food, Triad gangsters and corrupt officials. — Canberra Times, Australia
Gripping . . . 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
Wonderful. — Washington Post