13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The fifth installment of the Inspector Chen series (and a return to form),
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This review is from: Red Mandarin Dress: Inspector Chen 5 (Inspector Chen Cao) (Paperback)
`Red Mandarin Dress' begins with the discovery of a young girl who has been murdered and dumped in a very public area of Shanghai, just outside the Shanghai Music Institute. She has not been sexually assaulted, but she is wearing nothing but the red Mandarin dress which is associated with the bourgeoisie. As Inspector Chen is away working on his literature paper, it falls to his trusty sidekick, Yu, to begin the investigation. However, when another body is discovered and an undercover operation involving a member of the Police bureau goes horribly wrong, he is brought back into the fold.
I have enjoyed this series tremendously, but felt that the last couple of books in the series had not lived up to the brilliance of the initial novel, `Death of a Red Heroine.' However, this novel really does spark a return to form. The plot is interesting and involving, incorporating the wonderful mix of history, politics, gastronomy and Chinese Literature that made the earlier books so great and so unique.
I will include my usual minor moan, that I would appreciate a note on the pronunciation of names. Also, it's a shame that the publisher seems to have abandoned the striking illustrated covers too!
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Initial post: 17 Sep 2009 15:34:57 BDT
J. CAI says:
It might not be accurate to say that red Mandarin dress "is associated with the bourgeoisie". Qiu has explicitly claimed in the novel that the dress was only accused of representing the bourgeois lifestyle during the Cultural Revolution. It comes back as a popular dress during the 1990s--the time period Qiu sets his novel against.
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