Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don't Cry, Tai Lake-Qiu Xiaolong

Don't Cry, Tai Lake

Qiu Xiaolong

Minotaur, May 8 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312550646

Comrade Secretary Zhao sends Shanghai Police Special Case Chief Inspector Chen Cao for a week of R&R at the exclusive Wuxi Cadre Recreation Center on the shores of Tai Lake. He meets environmental engineer Shanshan at her Uncle Wang’s Wuxi eatery. They talk about polluted water from the Wuxi Number One Chemical company and other factories, polluted food and reading English. Director Xiao who manages the facility thinks Chen is doing surveillance and offer him all types of amenities.

A factory incident has Shanshan hustling while Chen, attracted to her, helps her. However, when Liu a factory chief is brutally murdered, Shanshan is considered a prime suspect. However, Internal Security interest quickly turns to Jiang who feuded with Liu. With help from Sergeant Huang, Chen, walking on egg shells, investigates.

This is a terrific Inspector Chen whodunit (see The Mao Case) as readers obtain a close up look at the cost of the Chinese rapid industrialization. The investigation is well conceived even though it uses too much happenchance. However, it is China that stars as Chen comes to this once pristine but now polluted resort because a superheavyweight sent him.

Harriet Klausner

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