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Don't Cry, Tai Lake (Inspector Chen Novels) [Hardcover]

Qiu Xiaolong
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.09
Price: 13.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (8 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312550642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312550646
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 481,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Qiu Xiaolong 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 criticisms, 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 and write in English instead. 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 - Death of a Red Heroine, A Loyal Character Dancer, When Red is Black, A Case of Two Cities, Red Mandarin Dress and, soon to be published, The Mao Case. 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
First Sentence: Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau found himself standing in front of the gate to the Wuxi Cadre Recreation Center.

Chief Inspector Chen Cao is surprised, pleased and a bit suspicious when he is given an unexpected vacation at a resort reserved for only those of high cadre; influence and/or power. The exclusive resort is located on the once very beautiful and pristine Tai Lake but chemical dumping and greed for wealth are changing that. One of the executives is murdered and a young woman Chen has come to know is being blamed. It is up to Chen to find the truth before she, or her friend, are taken off to prison.

With a tranquil beginning, we are immediately brought into a different world where we learn the importance of rank. Qui excels establishing a strong sense of place. From him we see, hear, smell and taste China. There are wonderful descriptions of the food, which are enhanced by stories of the history behind some of the dishes reminding us just how old is the culture of China.

Chen is fascinating and wonderful character. He's a policeman who had no desire to be a policeman. He's a poet and translator of books, particularly mysteries, from English into Chinese. But he is also dedicated to do his job the best he can, realizing its importance. It's enjoyable to see the local policeman, Sergeant Haung, admiration of Chen and his comparisons of Chen to Sherlock Holmes. Chen is a man of integrity. Although he is attracted to a female character, he knows he must not violate his responsibility as a cop. Poetry and quotation have a significant place in the story. Even the love scene is lyrically described.

We learn details of its history and customs; from the "hair" salons to environmental issues of today.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Glad to know qui xiaolong long still out there 13 Feb 2014
By FTC
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good read of the standard we have come to expect from this author. An excellent mystery and insight into another culture
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4.0 out of 5 stars Chen returns 7 Jan 2014
By allenr
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is good to have another volume in the Inspector Chen series, even if this is not the best of the bunch.
Still, very readable for fans, and the pollution angle is scary and, one assumes, all too accurate.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read 28 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
its a book that is not only a very interesting story but really makes you think about the environment and policies in other countries
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A murky murder by a dying lake 14 May 2012
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There's absolutely nothing like a Chief Inspector Chen novel. He quotes ancient Chinese poetry to subordinates and even to suspects. In the midst of passion, his mind turns to the classical euphemism for lovemaking: clouds and rain. And in the throes of an investigation he finds himself writing fragments of an epic poem.

The murder in this book is not actually his concern. Chen is vacationing at a gated resort for high-level Party members in the tourist town of Wuxi on legendary Tai Lake. He learns about the crime while flirting with a young woman named Shanshan, an environmental engineer at a big chemical company. The CEO has just been murdered, and Shanshan herself, being a troublesome environmentalist, is considered a suspicious person.

Captivated by Shanshan's youthful idealism, Chen works behind the scenes to protect her - and ultimately to investigate the murder. The various characters give us a picture of life inside the new materialistic China: the victim Liu, driven by greed to increase profits at any cost to the environment; his mahjong-playing wife who puts "face" above all else; the "little secretary" who works under Liu in every sense; the political activist Jiang, who may also be a blackmailer...

Chen feels sure all these people are connected and interconnected "in a long chain of yin/yang causality" - but how? Chen ponders the mystery over cups of Cloud and Mist tea and bowls of noodles and stinky tofu. He acquires an admiring and somewhat amusing Watson to help him secretly with his inquiries - a young Wuxi police sergeant whose head is full of Sherlock Holmes stories.

I've read every Inspector Chen novel and recommend them all - with enthusiasm. Don't Cry, Lake Tai is a novel of dissent, focusing as it does on the deadly pollution of China's major rivers and lakes. But it's also true literature. Qiu Xiaolong is a poet and writes exquisitely. In his hands a murder mystery becomes an aesthetic pleasure, and social protest is as haunting as a boatman's age-old song.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've enjoyed the entire series but feel this is one of Qui's best books. 6 July 2012
By L. J. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First Sentence: Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau found himself standing in front of the gate to the Wuxi Cadre Recreation Center.

Chief Inspector Chen Cao is surprised, pleased and a bit suspicious when he is given an unexpected vacation at a resort reserved for only those of high cadre; influence and/or power. The exclusive resort is located on the once very beautiful and pristine Tai Lake but chemical dumping and greed for wealth are changing that. One of the executives is murdered and a young woman Chen has come to know is being blamed. It is up to Chen to find the truth before she, or her friend, are taken off to prison.

With a tranquil beginning, we are immediately brought into a different world where we learn the importance of rank. Qui excels establishing a strong sense of place. From him we see, hear, smell and taste China. There are wonderful descriptions of the food, which are enhanced by stories of the history behind some of the dishes reminding us just how old is the culture of China.

Chen is fascinating and wonderful character. He's a policeman who had no desire to be a policeman. He's a poet and translator of books, particularly mysteries, from English into Chinese. But he is also dedicated to do his job the best he can, realizing its importance. It's enjoyable to see the local policeman, Sergeant Haung, admiration of Chen and his comparisons of Chen to Sherlock Holmes. Chen is a man of integrity. Although he is attracted to a female character, he knows he must not violate his responsibility as a cop. Poetry and quotation have a significant place in the story. Even the love scene is lyrically described.

We learn details of its history and customs; from the "hair" salons to environmental issues of today. In particular, it is about the changing China, economics and what a company, if permitted, will do to increase its value to increase wealth for its executives. [Chen]"Why are people capable of doing anything just for the sake of money? A partial answer might be the collapse of the ethical system..." It's prophetic in we see the result of a non-regulated industry, yet it never becomes preach-y.

It is also interesting to see the way in which now having some freedom of religion impacts the people of today's China. We forget that religion was banned under strict communism so when two of the supporting characters attend a church service it is a new experience for them. However, there is still the strong importance of "saving face".

There is a redundancy in the constant reminder that the complex is only for those of high cadre of a certain rank and that Chen is only there because of his connection to such a person. However, this also supports Chen's personality that he would be very much aware of that fact.

"Don't Cry, Tai Lake" concludes with a wonderful, touching ending. The final revelation as to the solution of the case is summed up best by Officer Huang "The clues are all there, but it takes a master to connect them,". However, even with the murder solved, the story shows the insular nature of China against the West. I've enjoyed the entire series but feel this is one of Qui's best books.

DON'T CRY, TAI LAKE (Pol Proc-CI Chen Cao-Shanghai, China-Contemporary) - VG
Xiaolong, Qiu - 7th in series
Minotaur Books, 2012
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Qiu Xiaolong does it again 29 Sep 2012
By booknblueslady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was excited to learn that Qiu Xiaolong had written another Inspector Chen book, so I rushed to purchase Don't Cry Tai Lake and it did not disappoint. I've read all the other of the series and appreciate the development of the characters stories through out. I love the story of Inspector Chen an up and coming cadre who has a degree in English, translates mystery stories for additional funds, writes poetry, is a gourmet, a policeman and cannot seem to get his love life together. Then there is his partner Yu who with his wife Peiqin has struggled to create a better life for themselves and their son.

In Don't Cry Tai Lake Inspector Chen is given a vacation at an exclusive resort by his mentor Comrade Secretary Zhao. It does,of course, have strings attached. Zhao wants him to prepare a report about the area of Tai Lake in Wuxi.

This book comes with the usual poetry, descriptions of food and its preparations and the description of what life is like in China. It gives the reader a real look at the problems facing modern China with its rapid expansion of industry and its push to commercialism and the costs involved with it. The beautiful Tai Lake has become polluted and Chen's new friend Shanshan and environmentalist is unpopular because her reports go against the "progress" of the area and are seen as a stumbling block to the regions' productivity and wealth.

This book does much to continue the story of Inspector Chen and we find him having a moral dilemma of the heart with his concern for Shanshan, the young environmentalist. He also struggles with what he will say to Comrade Secretary Zhao in his report as pollution is a very real problem which effects the health of both the citizens and the environment but it is not a popular problem to be addressed.

My one disappointment was that Detective Yu and his wife played only a small role in this, but perhaps I can hope that the next in the series will give him a broader focus.

If you haven't discovered this series, I encourage all to give it a try but start with the first, Death of a Red Heroine.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It pains me to say so, but this is just a terrible book 7 July 2012
By Old Asia Hand - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved the first few books in this series. Oh, the writing wasn't very good and the plotting was awkward, but I thought the core concept was magical and hoped the books themselves would get better. They didn't. They got worse - much worse. This is the most recent entry in the Chief Inspector Chin series and it is breathtakingly awful. The prose reads like it was translated from some obscure Chinese dialect by someone who doesn't speak that particular dialect. I honestly can't remember ever reading such clumsy, stilted, downright clunky prose in a published novel. The narrative is even worse than the writing, if that is possible. I fully understand the environmental disaster that has developed in parts of China today, but as the fulcrum for the plot of this novel, that tragedy is reduced to preachy, self-righteous, downright dumb moralizing. I am saddened and flabbergasted that this book is so truly awful in every respect.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 22 Sep 2012
By great - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Always enjoy his books. Gives a nice insight to old China and how he navigates the politics of the era.
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