FREE Express Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 32.
- Review Date: 2007-11-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Chinese exile Liang, who fled her country after participating in the Tiananmen Square protests, makes an impressive debut with this understated mystery set in the late 1990s, the first in a prospective series. After resigning from the ministry of public security, Mei Wang launches a private investigative agency, a technically illegal business in China, much to her family’s dismay. After an old family friend, “Uncle” Chen Jitian, hires Mei to track down a jade seal from the Han dynasty, previously believed to be destroyed, Mei and her assistant, Gupin, follow slim leads to a shady dealer who might have connections to the same museum collection supposedly incinerated by the Red Guard. Readers familiar with Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs will find many parallels between that independent and unconventional PI and Mei. Mei’s challenging family life nicely complements the puzzle of the missing jade and the shifting Chinese political climate. (Feb.)
Chilling mysteries for winter days
It appears thatÊwinter 2007-2008 may be the breakout season for new mysteries from China: First came Qiu Xiaolong's atmosphericÊRed Mandarin Dress, set in the port city of Shanghai; now we are treated to Diane Wei Liang's The Eye of Jade, which takes place in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Protagonist Mei Wang operates her two-man (well, one woman and one man) private detective agency out of a tiny, sparsely furnished room in a run-down Beijing office building. Strictly speaking, private detectives are banned in China, so she is registered as an "information consultant," a bit of linguistic legerdemain that allows her to ply her trade with minimal interference from the authorities. When Mei Wang is hired by an old family friend to search for a missing Han Dynasty jade, she has little idea that the search will stir up ghosts of the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao's forced labor camps and her own largely unexamined personal history. Diane Wei Liang has captured the vibrancy of Beijing, certainly one of the world's most fascinating cities, and overlaid a tale rich with history and filled with complex and entertaining characters. The novel is billed as the first in a new series; I hope the second installment arrives quickly!