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The Slaughter Pavilion [Paperback]

Catherine Sampson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Sep 2009

'The world will witness my despair . . .'

In the heart of Beijing's business district, a man throws himself off the top of a building. Tied to an advertising hoarding on the roof, he leaves behind his dead and frozen child.

Having earlier rejected the man's plea for help, Beijing private investigator Song has enough to deal with – Song’s own father-in-law, soon to be tried on corruption charges, is found dead. Did he kill himself or was someone else involved?

But Song cannot forget the man and his frozen child. When he starts to investigate, he and his team are drawn into a web of evil that extends from the scorching Beijing summer to the slums of London. And in a country where justice is often for sale, can Song discover the truth before it is buried for good?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (18 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330448226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330448222
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 963,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up mostly in Devon and the Midlands. Aged 17 I applied to study Chinese at university and a year later I headed to Shanghai. Since then, I've spent way too many years in China, first as a student, then a teacher, then a foreign correspondent for The Times. Since 2001 I've been writing novels - two of them set in China - and living in smog-choked Beijing again, with my husband James, a journalist, and our three children, now teenagers themselves, who think Beijing is normal and Britain is exotic. Their favourite food is Sichuan hot pot, in which piles of raw meat and vegetables are thrown into a bubbling soup red hot with chillis, plucked out fresh-cooked, and dunked, still steaming, in sesame sauce.
I haven't a clue how I've ended up writing stories set in South London...

Product Description


`The descriptions of Chinese life, and the way in which the state control information, and hide corruption are well described, and surely benefit from the author's own personal knowledge of the Chinese, and their culture. This was a fascinating book that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I look forward to reading the next one.'


'This is not only an absorbing mystery, but a fascinating social commentary, and highly recommended'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather disappointing 4 Feb 2010
I read and enjoyed the Pool of Unease and thought she would improve in her next novel. The book is not bad and I did persevere to the end. I am glad I did but I have to say that I was disappointed; I was hoping for a better book but it was not nearky as good. There were too many unbelievable aspects (as in a lot of novels but there were a few too many in this) and it came together too quickly at the end as if the author had had enough of the book. I rated the Pool of Unease as 3 stars but I did say that I was torn and I would have made it 3.5 if I could. This is clearly a 2 star book for me I am sorry to say.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful but Thrilling 23 Mar 2012
This is a very good thriller, which also takes a thoughtful look at contemporary China. The characters are interesting and realistic. The scenes where a woman from China visits London for the first time are so insightful and convincing - there are many small details like that - which do not slow the cracking pace of the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and authentic Chinese PI novel 21 Feb 2011
By Maxine Clarke VINE VOICE
I've enjoyed Catherine Sampson's three previous novels very much, but with THE SLAUGHTER PAVILION she truly comes into her own. The main character from the first three books, Robin Ballantyne, appears only briefly. Here, the setting is China and the main emphasis is on the private detective Song, and to a lesser extent his colleague Wolf and his new employee Blue, three characters who all appeared in the previous book, THE POOL OF UNEASE.
Song, Wolf and Blue are all struggling with their individuality. They aren't conformists, yet are living in a highly repressive society in which information is censored, anyone could be a party spy, every mobile phone call could be traced, and the slightest deviation from the norm could result in years in a re-education facility or worse. At the same time, most of China's population is impoverished and people's human rights are non-existent. An example used here is that much of Beijing is being razed in order to build offices and tower blocks. None of the inhabitants and local business people have any redress, but simply have to clear out of their rooms when they hear the bulldozers approach, taking with them what possessions they can. One course that is open to people who suffer an injustice is that they are allowed to write petitions. If enough people sign, the petition is seen by the police and some investigation is supposed to follow.
THE SLAUGHTER PAVILION opens with Song refusing to take on the case of a peasant who tries to hire him to investigate why his petition, about the death of his young daughter, has been ignored by the authorities. Terrified at having his business closed down, Song refuses to help - and tragedy rapidly ensues.
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