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A Loyal Character Dancer

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About the Author

Qiu Xiaolong, a prizewinning poet and critic in China, now teaches at Washington University in St. Louis, where he lives with his wife and daughter. His critically acclaimed Inspector Chen mystery series has sold over a million copies and has been published in twenty languages.


Inspector Chen (Death of a Red Heroine) of the Shanghai police tries to figure out the fate of a missing woman, a former Red Guard member who may be in trouble with her husband's criminal colleagues. Solid and eventful.

"Another wonderful novel featuring Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Bureau." --Maureen Corrigan, NPR's "Fresh Air" and Washington Post Book World "A luminescent synthesis of a thriller and a literary novel." --The Independent "A sequel that in many ways is even more impressive [than the original] . . . we begin to realize that Chen is ideally suited not only to police work but also to the fine art of political survival. [Qiu] has moved from the poetic, exotic milieu of his first book (although plenty of both elements remain) into a tougher, wider, probably more commercial and modern vision of China as seen by America." --Chicago Tribune "Qiu's second mystery is a treat." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Enchanting . . . Shanghai under the masterful literary talents of Qiu Xiaolong, is described with breathtaking realism." --Tampa Tribune "The travelogue aspects of this novel don't overwhelm its critical intelligence. The murder and mayhem provide a cover story for a larger investigation of social mysteries--in this case the fate of educated Chinese, many of whose lives were made a waking nightmare by the cultural revolution, and the future of Chinese communism itself." --Chicago Sun-Times "The combination of ancient and modern Chinese history with modern police work has produced an excellent procedural novel, filled with atmosphere and carefully illustrating life in China today. Inspector Chen is likeable, thoughtful, and appealing." --Dallas Morning News "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 "Qiu's books carry satisfying characterisations and a ring of authenticity about life in China." --Japan Times "Unusual in [its] vivid sense of an author exploring an alien genre, fusing it with Chinese literary traditions and taking it with him to strange new places . . . Chen's life is a delicate dance between trying to be an honest cop and trying to stay on the right side of the party." --January Magazine "Intriguing . . . Gang wars, rampant prostitution (even in karaoke clubs!), and the slavish greed and trend-sucking of China's rising entrepreneurial class almost overcome the erudite, but never pedantic, detective's belief in his country's ancient wisdom and current potential." --Raleigh News and Observer "An unlikely but very likable pair of strangely assorted cops--Shanghai police inspector Chen Cao and U.S. Marshal Service Inspector Catherine Rohn. There are lurking triads and international intrigue-mongers, there's exotic background and history . . . The plot is wonderfully complex." --The Courier-Gazette "Intriguing . . . The characters manage to achieve an engaging realism and charm, even while showing the underside of China in transition." --Publishers Weekly "Likeable, admirable Chen makes a sturdy protagonist, but it's China in transition - always interesting, often bewildering - that gets the star turn here." --Kirkus Reviews "Solid and eventful." --Library Journal "Engrossing insights into contemporary China in an intricate mystery." --Booklist "A Knockout." --Poisoned Pen Booknews "When I read Qiu Xiaolong's Death of a Red Heroine, I was enchanted . . . Now, with A Loyal Character Dancer, Qiu has given us an even more lyrically written, wide-ranging, bittersweet story." --S.J. Rozan, Mystery News "The sequel to Death of a Red Heroine, which won the Anthony in 2001 for best debut novel, Qiu Xiaolong's latest mystery is another winner . . . If you like mysteries with both a brain and heart, read A Loyal Character Dancer." --Rocky Mountain News "What a relief! Book two in the Inspector Chen saga meets the high expectations aroused by Qiu Xialong's first . . . A damn good mystery." --The Midwest Book Review From the Hardcover edition.

Anthony Prize-winner Qiu's second Inspector Chen mystery (after 2000's Death of a Red Heroine) offers an intriguing if somewhat labored glimpse of Chinese life in a period of evolution from communism to a more westernized culture. Former dancer and party loyalist Wen Liping has vanished just when she was to leave for the U.S. to join her husband, a key witness against a smuggling ring suspected of importing aliens to America. The same day higher authorities refer this case to Chen, who is a likable senior police agent with a love of literature, a badly mutilated body turns up in Shanghai's Bund Park. It takes many pages and train trips around China for Chen, in the company of visiting U.S. Marshal Catherine Rohn, before the two cases are finally linked, but the wait is worth it. Punctuated by proverbs from Confucius and ancient and modern Chinese poetry, Chen's reports show how he and Catherine gradually learn of Wen's unhappy past being programmed as a child to dance holding a "Loyalty" placard for Mao's Red Guards, later suffering brutal abuse by her husband. The more unsavory elements of modern Chinese society are revealed, from prostitution houses masking as karaoke clubs to vicious rival triads battling for turf, while materialism at its worst overcomes traditional values. Qiu's writing style can be somewhat stilted, and dialogue occasionally resembles "partyspeak," but the characters manage to achieve an engaging realism and charm, even while showing the underside of China in transition. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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