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This review is from: Death of a Red Heroine (Paperback)
When inspector Chen is called to investigate the finding of a dead woman in a backwater, he doesn't know that his career can come to an end. The victim is a dead "national moder worker", a person who is displayed by the Communist Party as a role model. Then all is routine investigation: interviewing people, adding two and two... What Chen doesn't expect is that the Communist Party doesn't want any negative propaganda, even in the search of truth and justice.
The best thing in the novel is the depcition of the late communist period, during Deng Xiaoping. The Party still ruled, but had started a "lighter hand" approach and with capitalist reforms. Then you can see how deep the Party control on people was, deciding on their studies, work, partner, way of life, private life. The senior Communist Party members were a caste appart, that didn't mingle withe the lower segments of society, that enjoyed what others couldn't. That is what makes this novel more interesting.
Appart from that, the narrative is peaceful to the point of being slow (perhaps something is lost in traslation), and the criminal investigation is used as a tapestry for social and political criticism.
Nothing extraordinary, but not a bad try for a beginner, either.