Don't Cry, Tai Lake (Inspector Chen Novels) Hardcover – 8 May 2012
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Xiaolong's astute rendering of the many contradictions of contemporary Chinese life centres on the brilliant Inspector Chen . . . A series that might well get you hooked. (Sunday Telegraph)
Atmospheric and rich in behind the scenes detail . . . Morse of the Far East. (Independent)
Chen is a great creation, an honourable man in a world full of deception and treachery. (Guardian)
With strong and subtle characterisation, Qiu Xiaolong draws us into a fascinating world where the greatest mystery revealed is the mystery of present-day China itself. (John Harvey)
The first police whodunnit written by a Chinese author in English and set in contemporary China . . . its quality matches its novelty. (The Times)
The usual enjoyable mix of murder, poetry and contradictions of contemporary Chinese culture. Chen is a splendid creation. (Independent on Sunday)
A vivid portrait of modern Chinese society . . . full of the sights, sounds and smells of Shanghai . . . A work of real distinction. (Wall Street Journal)
Qiu Xiaolong is one of the brightest stars in the firmament of modern literary crime fiction. His Inspector Chen mysteries dazzle as they entertain, combining crime with Chinese philosophy, poetry and food, Triad gangsters and corrupt officials. (Canberra Times, Australia)
Gripping . . . Chen stands in a class with Martin Cruz Smith's Russian investigator, Arkady Renko, and P.D. James's Scotland Yard inspector, Adam Dalgliesh. (Publishers Weekly)
Wonderful. (Washington Post) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
In the seventh novel in this acclaimed Chinese crime series, Inspector Chen's holiday is interrupted by murder and a case that shows the true cost of his country's drive towards prosperity. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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
This time it's the effect on the population and the impact on the environment of Chinas rapid push for economic growth when married up with personal greed flowing from the move towards privatisation of state industries. And always arching over this is the impact on The Party.
The novel follows the usual structure of previous Chen novels but like "A Case Of Two Cities" Chen is not operating on his home turf and with his usual cast of characters and I think this novel like "Two Cities" suffers from that relocation.Yes it has the usual mix of poetry, the possible love interest, the political interplay, some occasional references to food and drink but the pace is a little slow.
Nevertheless I enjoyed it and would certainly recommend it to fans of this series but newcomers should as always start with the first in the series. I would be concerned that a newcomer reading this might be put off and that would be a shame as these Chen novels are really very good. .
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