I´ve just read Qui Xiaolongs Death of a red heroine.
The main character Chen Cao lives in Shanghai. He works as a police inspector but is really a poet. He studied English at the university and to earn some extra money he translates englishcrime novels to chinese.
The novel starts with two men finding a women in the river. This is not just any women, it´s a famous women, who the communist parti uses as an example for the people of the perfect working women but when Cao and his colleague starts to dig in to her personal life, everything is not as it seems. The partyis not happy and Cao and Yu have to be very careful with their actions….
It took me a while to get through this book. Not because it was bad but because a lot of things was new to me. I have to admit that I thought I knew a lot about China but it´s different to read history books or watch the news. It´s a different thing to actually read how ordinary people live and work. Although the book is from the beginning of the 90s it´s still a very good way in to the Chinese society.
There is a lot of social critisism in the book and I am not surprised the the author lives in USA since 1989. However, there is a whole lot of love for the chinese people in the book which is shown through the characters, the food, and small quotations, poems and words of wisdom.
This is a really good crime novel and it gives a fantastic insight in the Chinese society (1990s) The book requires a bit of the reader but I think it´s a good thing. There are too many crime novels that you just hurry through. I will definately read more of Xiaolong and other Asian crime authors!