A Loyal Character Dancer, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Now a BBC Radio 4 Drama Series. Former dancer and party loyalist Wen Liping vanishes in rural China just before she was to leave the country.

Her husband, a key witness against a smuggling ring suspected of importing aliens to the US, refuses to testify until she is found and brought to join him in America.

A few days later, a badly mutilated body turns up in Shanghai's Bund Park.

It bears all the hallmarks of a triad killing. The US immigration agency, convinced that the Chinese government are hiding something, send US Marshal Catherine Rohn to Shanghai to join the investigation.

Inspector Chen, an astute young policeman with twin passions for food and poetry, is under political pressure to find answers fast.

When Catherine Rohn joins him he must decide what is more dangerous: to hide the truth, or to risk unleashing a scandal that could destroy his career.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages, n/a
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780340897539

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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

Chief Inspector Chen, rising star of the Shanghai police, is assigned to assist a female US Marshall who has come to China to escort a witness in a triad human-smuggling case to join her husband under witness protection in the US. Only its not that simple...The plotting is very good (though a few more juicy twists wouldn't have gone amiss) but the best thing about this book is the glimpse at life in modern day China, with the authentic backdrop of recent Chinese history.The prose is gentle, uncomplicated and peppered with poetic quotes, which I am sure is in itself very Chinese, but in some ways I felt a story this good should make a more *exciting* read. I also got confused with some similar-sounding Chinese names and the continual hints at sexual tension between Chen and Catherine Rohn (The US cop) got a bit tiresome after a while when it became clear nothing was ever going to happen there.Worth a read for the insight into Chinese culture.

Review by

Another excellent Inspector Chen novel. Full of atmosphere, intrigue and politics. Great characters, a good plot and interesting Chinese setting.

Review by

This is the second book in the Inspector Chen Series. I love the insights into life in Shanghai in the 1990s and Inspector Chen is also a poet. The murder investigations are almost a sideline, but are still very interesting.

Review by
The food poisoning incident made him think of Inspector Rohn. First the motorcycle, and then the accident on the staircase.They might have been followed. While they were talking with Zhu upstairs, something could have been done to the steps. Under normal circumstances, Chief Inspector Chen would have treated such an idea like a tall tale from Liaozhai, but they were dealing with a triad.Anything was possible.A woman from a small village disappears while waiting for a passport to join her husband in the US. The woman's husband is refusing to testify in a trial of a people-smuggler unless his wife is allowed to join him, and an U.S. Marshall Catherine Rohn has been sent to Shanghai to escort the woman to her husband. Inspector Chen is put on the case and asked to look after the American because of his good English, and good-standing within the party, although she does speak some Chinese. Chen is well aware that this is a politically sensitive case, as it is imperative that the woman is found and handed over to the Americans quickly, so that China does not lose face, but he comes to suspect that some people would rather the woman was not found and handed over the the Americans An interesting police procedural with plenty of politics, but this time there's added Triad action, flirting and Doctor Zhivago!

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