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Water Touching Stone (Inspector Shan, #2)
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Water Touching Stone (Inspector Shan #2)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  1,044 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
The news that a venerated teacher has been murdered sends an unlikely band of outcasts into the remote northern reaches of the Tibetan plateau. Two old Tibetans travel to restore the spiritual balance disturbed by violent death. A sullen resistance fighter races to battle a new foe. But Shan Tao Yun, former Beijing investigator and newly released from four years of prison ...more
Paperback, 621 pages
Published 2002 by Arrow (first published January 1st 2001)
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Nov 10, 2007 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ostensibly, this is a mystery novel, and it's a good one. It may seem strange, then, for me to suggest that the marvelous and compelling storyline is practically irrelevant, but in some ways it is. An even greater power of this book lies in it's characterizations, it's sense of place, and it's vivid, visceral evocation of vanishing (and emerging) cultures. Set in Tibet and Central Asia amid societies being absorbed into the dominant Han Chinese political system, the novel paints such an indelibl ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this, his second novel featuring Inspector Shan, a Han Chinese political exile in Tibet, Pattison moves from southern Tibet, the setting for The Skull Mantra, to the far northwest of China, to the lands of the Kazakh and Uighur Moslem clans. The action begins in media res, Pattison immediately creating a situation of grave danger as Shan and his Tibetan companions are sent to solve the murder of a teacher and her pupils. Buddhist and Taoist myths and philosophy are central to the narrative, a ...more
Mar 20, 2011 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At our bookstore, this is shelved under crime, and yet I find myself hesitating to call it crime fiction. Yes, there is a murder - there are several murders, actually - and there is crime, and there is a detective, but this was unlike any other piece of crime fiction I ever read.

Although it's the second in a series of novels about detective Shan, this book was the first I read completely. I started reading the first book a while ago and even though I liked it, I didn't finish it and returned it.
Jan 02, 2010 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I have really been enjoying the inspector Shan series but it is so depressing - what is happening to Tibet as so well outlined in this book on a very personal level.
The books are like meditations in themselves and as a normally fast reader I find that I have to really take my time to get through the journey of the book. The experience of the journey seems to be more central to the book than the solving of the mystery
Sep 01, 2007 Clif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mystery set in Tibet it is an homage to a profound beautiful culture and an anchor to our own restless urbanity.
Emelia Mccord
Mar 20, 2017 Emelia Mccord rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most amazing series of books I have ever read.
Don't let the fact it is a "detective" series dissuade you from reading them.
This series gets to the heart of all that is/has been going on in Tibet.
History hidden behind the label of a detective series, these books speak of Tibet, it's struggle against
the invasion of China, how the Chinese tried to wipe out Buddhism, it's monks, and a way of life that has existed for thousands of years. This series will make your soul cry, make your spiri
Mar 13, 2010 HBalikov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully and skillfully written book that weaves Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and a story of mystery and adventure. Complex and compelling, this is the second book in which the exiled Han investigator, Shan Tao Yun has to confront his fears and memories while searching for a rabid killer in the lock-down culture of Chinese controlled Tibet.
Here is one insightful sample: "The one word I would never use for Tibetans," she said, with a strangely distant tone, is harmless...Everyone else we can
Dec 05, 2007 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Pattison's books that I've read. I think both are great. I'm sure that his writing style will remind most mystery fiction fans of Tony Hillerman. However, there is an important difference. Hillerman's mysteries certainly have deeper spiritual and cultural themes at their foundation compared to the average mystery, but Pattison's presentation of these themes is much more rich than Hillerman's.

In any case, I appreciate the challenge of having more to think about than who wil
Feb 06, 2010 Mguhin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Inspector Shan mystery that provides more about the destruction of native cultures by the Chinese central government. Perhaps some idealization of "the noble savage" in examining the vanishing ways of life in Tajikistan and similar areas, but informative and moving nonetheless.
While I was reading this book, the news broke of the 101st self-immolation of a Tibetan in Nepal since 2009. The self-immolaters are protesting the Chinese occupation of their homeland.

It was a sad reminder that, even though these books are fiction, they are based on very real events; namely, the sixty-year-long effort by China to subjugate Tibet and obliterate its culture and religion.

Of course, for the traditional Tibetan, culture and religion are very much the same thing. Evidently, that is
Oct 18, 2012 DWGibb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now inspector Shan finds himself traveling the length and breadth of Tibet looking for a killer. A teacher among the herdsmen has been killed and when he arrives in the mountains, he finds one of her students also has been murdered. Shan vows to find the killer though he must remain out of sight from the always menacing Chinese presence throughout the country. As the story turns, we experience a complex and far reaching mystery of murder and international intrigue, along with may fascinating ins ...more
Adrienne happy
little too long and repetitive. purely for entertainment as a murder mystery. his first book was better. i really appreciate the realistic depition of chinese appropriated tibet, very moving. has piqued my interest in tibet and its struggles as well as my interest in buddism.
Sep 23, 2015 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BEWARE: One man's bookflap summary is another man's spoiler.

My heart is full after reading this book.

As with the first book, "Water Touching Stone" succeeds on all levels: character exposition, plot, but especially on meaningful themes, vivid descriptions of the landscape (both natural and man-made) as well as the author's elegant language.

The later Shan books fall short, in this regard, compared to the first two.

After I'd read Pattison's first investigator Shan novel, "The Skull Mantra," I sea
I liked this book a lot, especially the sense of place and setting that it offered was great, you really get a feeling of how important culture, tradition and identity are to the peoples of Tibet and Xinjiang, and how they struggle to keep these (their very heart and soul) intact under Chinese rule.
I say "liked" and not "loved" (hence the 3 instead of 4 stars), this is mostly because I was just more impressed with the first book of the series, The Skull Mantra, and in the end I didn't feel as i
Josephine Nolan
Sep 13, 2013 Josephine Nolan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable mystery in the mysterious land of Tibet. This is a fast read, nearly as good as his first (Skull Mantra), but burdened a little with his political messages (free Tibet, etc). It's not that these messages aren't worthy, they can be ever-present. But for a unique mystery, this is it. By weaving a mystery novel, with an unusual protagonist, against a very mysterious and seldom glimpsed land (Tibet under Chinese rule), Pattison makes this an irresistible read. It's rare to have a truly uni ...more
Pattison’s 2nd book after the brilliant Skull Mantra. It is pretty good. I still really liked Shan, the tidbits about the Tibetan Buddhist monk Lokesh’s practices and attitudes of supreme letting go into the childlike innocence and joy of life. The Taoist I Ching phrases also are intriguing. In this book, Shan is sent by the monks to the Northwest of Tibet inhabited by Islamic horse loving Kazahk because a boy has died and a monk is missing. It is certainly not surprising when the boy is a tulku ...more
Jul 18, 2010 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, fiction, crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2010 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what "worshiping the god within" means. I think Pattison is good at story telling, the culture and the setting, but he's definitely not a Buddhist, even if he could be sympathetic. "Worshiping the god within," sees Buddhism as a good human teaching, that has nothing transcendent and that is offensive to me. Supposedly some lamas were happy after going to a meeting with the Pope, because he said it was a good human teaching--meaning it had nothing to do with the transcendental. Well, ...more
Lee Miller
Dec 29, 2016 Lee Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eliot Pattison brilliantly fuses his deep knowledge of Chinese history, anthropology, and politics with the classical mystery genre, but this is more than a series of mystery books; it is a plea to understand modern Tibet and the persecution of the Tibetan people. Here, Pattison takes his love and respect for the Tibetan people and expands it to the Muslims of the Xianjiang Autonomous Region. "Water Touching Stone" fails to reach the heights of "The Skull Mantra:" it's too confusing and there is ...more
May 29, 2014 Melaslithos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, china
Dans la même veine que le précédent roman, The Skull Mantra, l’inspecteur Shan se retrouve à défendre les minorités opprimées, cette fois à la frontière du Tibet et du Xinjiang. Tous les commentaires que j’ai pu faire pour le précédent roman sont valables pour celui-ci aussi. Mais il m’a d’autant plus touché que je suis allée au Xinjiang l'été précédent, et que j’ai donc pu mieux imaginer ce dont l'auteur parlait.

C'est un livre qui non seulement nous tient en haleine tout du long grâce à son int
Jul 28, 2012 Archana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even better than his first book, "The Skull Mantra", this book continues the story of Inspector Shan Tao Yun, former Beijing official imprisoned in Tibet.
Now free to walk around Tibet, Shan risks imprisonment by venturing into Xinjiang, to solve the mystery of a dead teacher, and try and stop the killer of her wards, the orphans of the "Zheli". The story has twists and turns, but what is more compelling is Pattison's description of the beautiful country, the Tibetan monks, Kazakhs, Uighurs and t
Apr 11, 2013 Sandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Complex and multi-layered? Yes, but mostly just confusing--very, very confusing. I just found it next to impossible to follow the action in this novel as the characters bopped back and forth and back and forth again to the various locales, looking for something or other--never well defined. I yawned my way through interminable descriptions of landscapes and geological formations that I could little picture nor understand, but mostly I scratched my head trying to fathom the motives and purposes o ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Water Touching Stone: an Inspector Shan Tao Yun mystery, by Elliott Pattison, a-minus, Borrowed from the Library for the Blind.

In this one ShanTao, no longer an Inspector from Beijing, and just recently released from prison camp, is asked by his Tibetan monk friends to find out why a beloved teacher has been killed, and why the orphans she educated, children around the age of 10, are being systematically murdered as well. At first it appears to be a serial killer, but Shan soon realizes that the
Sep 16, 2012 Deirdre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second story of Shan Tao Yun, the former Beijing investigator turned prisoner and Buddhist. He's sent to investigate the death of a venerated Buddhist teacher and lama and finds himself embroiled in the politics of a different kind.

There are stretches of this book that resonated deeply with me and pulled me in only for me to reluctantly surface but then the political message would jar me out of the pleasure of reading it. The message is very heavy-handed and I did want to occasionall
Jun 06, 2014 Lorelei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lorelei by: DC Dave
Shelves: mystery
I was told that this isn't as good as the first one, but for me - no. I don't see how it could have been made better. It is long book, and maybe hard for some to get through, but I was so involved in what was going on, and the characters, and the mystery(s) that I didn't really notice. I am a slow reader, and it took me a while, but I definitely speeded up the last fifty pages, I couldn't help myself. Anyway it is a murder mystery, sort of, taking place in Chinese occupied areas in and near Tibe ...more
Aug 17, 2008 Nan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nan by: The Whodunit Club
Is there a Detective Lama? If there is, then Inspector Shan must be him. Shan is again in the borderlands of China. He's traveling with a purba, Lokesh, and Gendun. He meets an army of Maos, a prosecutor with a conscience, clans of horsemen, a wonderful camel, the second best lama in his tenth best incarnation, lots of greedy government officials, and too many wounded fathers. There is much information in Pattison's mysteries. Sometimes he is a little clumsy about revealing it. In spots you can ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not as good as The Skull Mantra, but I liked it well enough. There's lots of moving around through various locales, and I found that somewhat difficult to follow. I just couldn't keep all the places and their significance straight. This may have more to do with my having read the first half of the book about two months before the second half than the writing, but most of the traveling around seemed somewhat superfluous to the story.

I think I shall wait a while before reading the next
Dec 14, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever wondered what all the fuss is about freeing Tibet, reading this series will make things pretty clear - BUT, don't try to read any of these books in a limited time period. They start slowly - Pattison spends a lot of time building the foundation of a very complex story, and then slowly begins to reward your patience by providing answers here and there along the way, while at the same time presenting new questions.

The story is heartbreaking, and at the same time filled with hope - I
Kristena West
Jan 28, 2014 Kristena West rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I love all inspector Chan mysteries, they go beyond what one would expect. I am always so grateful that the traditions of Buddhism are part of the story line and some of the hidden mysteries are revealed. The problems that Chan faces as a "hidden" Buddhist ex Chinese investigator, are filled with tragedy and moral challenges that hopefully I will never have to face.

In writing these expose's on what China is doing to the Tibetans' Pattison supports the efforts of everyone who is trying to help t
This was a powerful book for me to read. I did have difficulty with the names and the number of characters involved in this story. However I was made more aware of the political stage of China and Tibet in the 1950's. For this alone the book touch my spirit. I strongly suggest reading it. I would suggest, too, that appropriate time be given to the reading. I could not get to the book but several times a week and had to do re-reading to re-familiarize myself with the characters and circumstances.
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Edgar Award winning Eliot Pattison has been described as a "writer of faraway mysteries," a label which is particularly apt for someone whose travel and interests span a million miles of global trekking, visiting every continent but Antarctica.

An international lawyer by training, Pattison first combined his deep concerns for the people of Tibet with his interest in fiction writing in The Skull Ma
More about Eliot Pattison...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Shan (9 books)
  • The Skull Mantra (Inspector Shan, #1)
  • Bone Mountain (Inspector Shan, #3)
  • Beautiful Ghosts (Inspector Shan, #4)
  • Prayer of the Dragon (Inspector Shan, #5)
  • The Lord of Death (Inspector Shan, #6)
  • Mandarin Gate (Inspector Shan, #7)
  • Soul of the Fire (Inspector Shan, #8)
  • Skeleton God (Inspector Shan, #9)

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“Shan stared at his glass, then lifted it under his nose. It was the closest he would knowingly get to tasting the hard liquor. It was not because it would violate the vows of the monks, which he had not taken, but because somehow it felt as though it would violate his teachers who still sat behind prison wire in Lhadrung.” 4 likes
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