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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet
Tha author's editor told him this was his best novel yet, and I agree. Yet you would have had to read the others to get here. Inspector Chen travels to Beijing, visits the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, and a hutong or two, all well-known to those of you who will have been to Beijing for the Olympics, for real or by television. Inspector Chen's memories of life as a...
Published on 3 Feb. 2009 by L. M. Stewart

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I have enjoyed other books by Qiu Xiaolong but I found this ...
I have enjoyed other books by Qiu Xiaolong but I found this one heavy going. There did not seem to be much point to the plot and the ending was a let down. Altogether there was too much political stuff which did not add, in my opinion, to the story.
Published 2 months ago by J. C. Day


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best yet, 3 Feb. 2009
By 
L. M. Stewart (Hong Kong) - See all my reviews
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Tha author's editor told him this was his best novel yet, and I agree. Yet you would have had to read the others to get here. Inspector Chen travels to Beijing, visits the Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, and a hutong or two, all well-known to those of you who will have been to Beijing for the Olympics, for real or by television. Inspector Chen's memories of life as a university student in Beijing as well as his investigation in to the private life of Chairman Mao give further color to the story. Most of all, this is a story about not forgetting. The many layers of this tale lay like dried leaves around a tree in autumn, waiting to be collected. Like many of his fellow authors, Qiu's choice to write about Beijing at this time of the Olympics is no coincidence. Like others, he is raising his fist, and saying, I shall never forget.

Beware, however, that Qiu's English has improved substantially, and although his style remains wonderful, and wonderfully Chinese, it has lost its awkwardness. I feel the author is thinking in English now, rather than in Chinese, and then translating. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, it's just different.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literate crime novel, 26 April 2010
By 
J. Cronin "dudara" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
Although labelled as a murder mystery, The Mao Case and other works from Qiu Xiaolong, are deeper stories concerning with the rapidly changing and mutating society in millenium China. The shadow of Mao and the Cultural Revolution looms over a society which is looking towards the future.

Inspector Chen is both a poet and detective. Cultured and educated, he is entrusted with investigating the suddenly affluent lifestyle of Jiao, granddaughter of a disgraced movie star. But as he begins his investigation, the body of Jiao's friend is found in the garden of a gently decaying Shanghai mansion.

The case is politically sensitive, due to the connection between Jiao's grandmother and Chairman Mao. In fact, Internal police are convinced that Jiao holds some secret material from Mao, which cannot be allowed to resurface and tarnish his beloved and treasured image.

This is a crime novel of a different ilk. Originating as it does from a different culture, Xiaolong's story offers a different type of crime novel - intellectual and educated. It is wistful, literate and utterly unique.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Return to form, 26 Oct. 2009
By 
John S. McDonald (Norwich,England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
"The Mao Case" represents a return to form displayed in the earliest Insp. Chen novels with their combination of generic crime fiction and their particular brand of modern chinese social issues,poetry and food obsessions. Here the long term ramifications of the cultural revolution in post- Mao society and the pressures of a party trying to ride the tide of modern capitalism while hoping that the selected benefits will disuade chinese of the need for more real freedoms,not just the choices availabvle to the noveaux riches("Big Bucks") and the turmoil practical and moral that engulfs Chen as he tries to pick his way through the pitfalls of party requirements set against criminal procedures and an attempt to mitigate the extent of his own moral compromises. A relatively simple plot line pursued by Chen and various non-official helpers,mostly familiar characters,investigate tragedies for three (or 4) women across the period 1965-to date.A very satisfying read which avoids having chinese characters telling western readers what they might not know about China's recent past, a growing fault in last novel especially...which tended to make them unconvincing figures but mere mouth pieces. Pace and sublety are both here again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gives the series more depth and context, 17 Nov. 2009
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
The inscription, in this the sixth Inspector Chen novel, gives some idea of the tone and direction that the plot takes; `For the people that suffered under Mao.'

Chen is asked to look into a politically sensitive case, which involves the possible secretion of incriminating evidence against Mao which might have been passed to one of his mistresses, the actress, Shang. Chen must go undercover and find the information he needs from Shang's granddaughter Jiao. The plot for this novel is quite simple in comparison to the other books in this series, concentrating more on the history and legacy of Mao and the myths about him which are still perpetuated. This was fascinating, but as a fan of the series I was disappointed that there was little momentum regarding Chen's personal life and that Yu and his wife Pequin hardly featured.
Still, I always find the books in this series original and interesting, providing a window into a completely alien culture and political system.

If you are new to this series, it would be best to start at the beginning with `Death of a Red Heroine' which is still far and away the best book of the series as a whole.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent political mystery, 7 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
The Mao Case is the first novel I have read by Qui Xiaolong, although it is his sixth Inspector Chen book. I was drawn to it by the political theme involving the supposed granddaughter of one of Mao Zedong's many mistresses and the possibility that she has important Mao relics in her possession.

Rather than a crime story in the strictest sense, The Mao Case is a mystery with political and cultural ramifications as Inspector Chen's superiors are intent preserving an unsullied memory of Mao. It is also very literary compared to most novels of this genre. Inspector Chen uses his knowledge of Tang dynasty poetry and the works of Mao for clues to the case. The author also draws cleverly on details from the autobiography of Mao's personal physician, which caused an international stir when it came out in the 1980s, and this makes the mystery involving the personal life of Mao quite convincing. With an intelligent lead up, the denouement at the end, when "Mao" is revealed, took me by surprise. Intentional or not, that scene is so ridiculous, I could not stop myself laughing.

Qui's knowledge of Chinese history and poetry enhances a sometimes clumsily written, though intriguing novel. I also enjoyed the portrayal of Beijing and Shanghai, two cities where old and new exist side by side. However, clunky dialogue and exposition are major flaws in this novel and Qiu's English is far from perfect. It is a shame the publisher could not invest in a decent edit to do this book justice. Despite this I enjoyed it and intend to read others in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as ever?, 11 Feb. 2009
By 
James (York, North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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I have read all the Inpector Chen novels with their fascinating mixture of a good plot intertwined with an insight into modern China, cooking and poetry.

I agree with L.M. Stewart that you need to have read at least some of the others to appreciate The Mao Case. Also his style is now much more western and less quirky.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, with two qualifications; it seems short compared with the others (? just his now easier writing style) but also I found the ending disappointing...without giving the plot away, perhaps Jiao and her mother could have had something more in common with Lara in Dr. Zhivago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A traditional British style detective story but exotic., 14 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
Detective stories come in many forms. Some are strong on humour. Some, perhaps especially American, are graphic in their portrayal of criminal methods and violence. Some writers, as Camilla Lackberg, seem to be writing family stories. The British tradition, a century old but exemplified more recently in the Inspector Morse novels of Colin Dexter, is the who-done-it. This is the plan followed by Qiu Xiaolong. The crime is described, the body is found, and we are involved in the search for clues that will identify the culprit. This turns out to be true even of The Mao Case, which begins with the search for unidentifed and rather mysterious items which antecedents of people now living may have obtained from Mao before his death, but ends with the identification of the author of two murders.
However Qiu Xiaolong is distinguished also by his descriptions of life in China: the physical descriptions of the difficulties in living space, the effects on different characters by their experiences in the Cultural Revolution and also its aftermath as those who were important in one era felt abandoned in another, and the developing class system. These matters could become boring and irrelevant if they were not , as in this book, an essential part of a story where the detective must struggle with the complexities of the class system in which the high cadres live in a world apart, and the detective in addition to relying on help from his team, also needs a contact in high circles in Beijing and a supporter in the Triads.
Finally we accept the detective Chen as an honest, intelligent man doing his best in difficult ciircumstances. Cultured too. Morse plays classical music. Chen recites Chinese poetry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging with great insight, 27 July 2013
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Once you get accustomed to the style the story evolves becoming increasingly engaging, presenting very human and balanced characters. Characterisation and scene setting is well developed without becoming overpowering and giving the impression of an academic exercise. Whether the combination of poet and detective is a likely combination, the reader is certainly left with the conviction that it is entirely realistic. Plot development is intricate with various twists and turns and does not rise beyond what is entirely possible - leaving the reader with certain question marks, proving that it is not always correct for a writer to resolve the novel in a Hollywood style - life is just not like that. My only technical question over the Kindle edition is that, like some others, it does not have chapter bookmarks - so one finds oneself continually adding bookmarks at the outset of chapters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence, 8 Mar. 2013
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A master at his craft each word carefully positioned and we got yet another example of this very gifted wordsmith. A pleasure to read and will be reread.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I have enjoyed other books by Qiu Xiaolong but I found this ..., 2 Feb. 2015
By 
J. C. Day (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
I have enjoyed other books by Qiu Xiaolong but I found this one heavy going. There did not seem to be much point to the plot and the ending was a let down. Altogether there was too much political stuff which did not add, in my opinion, to the story.
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The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao)
The Mao Case: Inspector Chen 6 (Inspector Chen Cao) by Qiu Xiaolong (Paperback - 23 July 2009)
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