The Mao Case Paperback
by Qiu Xiaolong
Part of the Inspector Chen Cao series
Now a BBC Radio 4 Drama Series. Tucked away from the building sites of modern Shanghai are the beautiful mansions once owned by the smartest families in 1930s China.
They have since been bought by rich businessmen and high-ranking members of the Communist Party.
All except one. The owner is an old painter who holds a glittering party each night: swing jazz plays for his former neighbours, who dance, remember old times and forget for an evening the terrors that followed.
But questions are being asked. How can he afford such a lifestyle? His paintings? Blackmail? A triad connection? Prostitution? Inspector Chen is asked to investigate discreetly what is going on behind the elegant facade.
But, before he can get close to anyone, one of the girls is found murdered in the garden and another is terrified she will be next. Chen's quest for answers will take Chen to a strange businessman, triads, Chairman Mao himself and a terrible secret the Party will go to any length to conceal.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages, n/a
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date: 23/07/2009
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780340978597
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Review by dudara
Although labelled as a murder mystery, The Mao Case and other works from Qiu Xiaolong, are deeper stories concerning with the rapidly changing and mutating society in millenium China. The shadow of Mao and the Cultural Revolution looms over a society which is looking towards the future. Inspector Chen is both a poet and detective. Cultured and educated, he is entrusted with investigating the suddenly affluent lifestyle of Jiao, granddaughter of a disgraced movie star. But as he begins his investigation, the body of Jiao's friend is found in the garden of a gently decaying Shanghai mansion.The case is politically sensitive, due to the connection between Jiao's grandmother and Chairman Mao. In fact, Internal police are convinced that Jiao holds some secret material from Mao, which cannot be allowed to resurface and tarnish his beloved and treasured image. This is a crime novel of a different ilk. Originating as it does from a different culture, Xiaolong's story offers a different type of crime novel - intellectual and educated. It is wistful, literate and utterly unique.