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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Justice
Chief Inspector Chen faces more than a riddle in this latest chronicle of life in Shanghai. He has to weigh his role as a cop and party official against the truth. As a result of the supposed suicide of the head of the Shanghai Housing Development Committee following his exposure of massive corruption, Chen is asked to act as a consultant in the police investigation...
Published 13 months ago by Ted Feit

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Like all his novels somewhat naif, but interesting the Chinese background
Published 2 months ago by Jeremy Beach


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Justice, 22 Oct 2013
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Chief Inspector Chen faces more than a riddle in this latest chronicle of life in Shanghai. He has to weigh his role as a cop and party official against the truth. As a result of the supposed suicide of the head of the Shanghai Housing Development Committee following his exposure of massive corruption, Chen is asked to act as a consultant in the police investigation. The premise is that the result would be a verdict of suicide, burying the case, and Chen's "endorsement" would seal it, he being known as an incorruptible cop.

The case, however, develops into far more than what the authorities wish, especially when the detective in charge of the case leans toward a murder charge. The corrupt practices came to light from exposure over the internet, giving the author license to look at the conflict between the loosening of Chinese "democracy" and the conflict with the needs of the one-party system to "harmonize" political crimes.

In a way, the novel takes place on three levels. First, it is a straightforward police procedural. Then, as in all of the books in the series, it is a serious look at present-day China. Lastly, there is some degree of romantic interest, introducing a female journalist who not only provides Chen with much assistance in his investigation, but a sexual attraction as well (although, at least to this point, unconsummated). The novel follows the similar pattern of including snippets of Chinese poetry along the way to make points. The one negative comment concerning the novel is the inconclusive ending. But, perhaps, that is to be resolved, along with Chen's love life, in a future volume.

Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another good novel in the series, 19 Nov 2014
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Some reviews expressed concern that the story line was not fully resolved. However, this is something that one expects with the Inspector Chen Novels and reflects the dilemma - and the enigma - within local society and culture. Inspector Chen is always pulled in different directions and is not presented as a perfect individual but in reality someone who is pulled in different directions and who has to operate in an imperfect world. The "Moriarty" of Sherlock Homes still lurks in the background although the are always encouraging signs of victory at least in part. In this way, the series provides a continuing reflection on developing social change and the many difficulties thrown up along the way. The style an interjection of Chinese poetry quotations can be a little daunting to English readers but, once one get accustomed to the style, one can be at ease. As always providing a good commentary on life, priorities, pressures as well as food. Having read all the series so far I look forward to the next - but do I expect a final resolution at that point in time? I doubt it and life, struggles and contradictions will go on. I would not place too much emphasis in comparing the novels involved; as with all series there is some variation. In providing social comment the novels rise above those where culmination and outcome dominate to a degree that the story line steps out of reality.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 28 Sep 2014
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Jeremy Beach - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Enigma of China (Inspector Chen Novels) (Paperback)
Like all his novels somewhat naif, but interesting the Chinese background
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Enigma of China (Inspector Chen Novels)
Enigma of China (Inspector Chen Novels) by Qiu Xiaolong (Paperback - 17 Jun 2014)
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