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A Loyal Character Dancer (Inspector Chen Cao #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  880 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Inspector Chen’s mentor in the Shanghai Police Bureau has assigned him to escort U.S. Marshal Catherine Rohn. Her mission is to bring Wen, the wife of a witness in an important criminal trial, to the United States. Inspector Rohn is already en route when Chen learns that Wen has unaccountably vanished from her village in Fujian. Or is this just what he is supposed to belie ...more
Paperback, 351 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Soho Crime (first published January 1st 2002)
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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa SeeThe Good Earth by Pearl S. BuckThe Joy Luck Club by Amy TanShanghai Girls by Lisa SeeThe Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
Best Novels That Take Place in China
72nd out of 259 books — 703 voters
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Asian mystery
12th out of 139 books — 33 voters

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Community Reviews

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First Sentence: Chief Inspector Chen Cao, of the Shangahi Police Bureau, found himself once again walking through the morning mist toward Bund Park.

Chief Inspection Chen Cao has been assigned to escort U.S. Marshall Catherine Rohn. His mission is to make her happy, keep her safe and out of trouble. Her mission is to bring to the United States, Wen, the wife of an important criminal witness. When they go to get Wen, she has disappeared. Chen has to find her, Catherine wants to be an active part o
I liked this even better than the first in the series.
Inspector Chen is a poet and a translator, and a poem based on historical fact provides the key to solve this case.
Chen's deft working within the political system of today's China is admirable and interesting as always, and this book finds him balancing on the tightrope of cooperation with the United States to do something about illegal immigration and the powerful Chinese gangs whose power is based on their lucrative exploitation of immigr
Carl Brush
After Death of a Red Heroine, I had to get right to another Qiu Xialong and somehow A Loyal Character Dancer popped right up. We're right back in Shanghai, of course, and we find Chief Inspector Chen enjoying a morning walk and cup of tea in Bund Park, a city center place along the confluence of two rivers. A peaceful scene right near the Peace Hotel. But the peace doesn't last. First, there's that body in the bushes, dressed in expensive pajamas and scored with ax wounds. Then comes the news th ...more
These books continue to entertain me enormously. As with the first book, the 'mystery' aspect of the text isn't particularly absorbing - I wanted to know who did what to whom and why, for sure, but it was the setting, the characters, the observations about politics in China and the United States that captivated me. There's an enormous amount of information in each book about the ambivalence of ordinary Chinese individuals toward the past, the present, a certainly amount of uncertainty about the ...more
Kathy Turner

Crime novels are as good as their Detectives. We delight in the Detectives’ failings which serve, not to hide, but to shine light on the brilliance of their often idiosyncratic investigations. We admire their often solitary social existence, as they work under-appreciated and most often, against the established order of things. We enjoy the relationship that develops between the Detectives and their sidekicks, though it is always an unlikely relationship, for the sidekicks have to be less skille

Mel Belstein
"Visado para Shanghai" se llama en castellano y lo saqué de la biblioteca pensando el título daba más para una película protagonizada por Jackie Chan y Ben Stiller que para una novela policial o de misterio. Por suerte me encontré con un policial que te engancha desde la pagina 1 y te mantiene entretenido hasta el final.
David Schwan
This second installment of the Inspector Chen series gives the reader a deeper insight into the main character. Inspector Chen adroitly maneuvers his way through some tricky politics while aiding a US Marshall there in China to escort a woman to the US.

The plot moves along nicely until the end where things get very complicated. The ending is quite a tangle, it almost seems to be deliberate, leaving the author with sufficient hooks to take up the story line in the future.

Overall a nice read.
Curt Buchmeier
I found myself appreciating the really unique (to me anyways) way the author, Qiu Xialong, told the story. Quite possibly, this is familiar to readers of Chinese fiction. I enjoyed the descriptive style in the background of the mystery. The mystery itself was realistic & well done. The central character, Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a rising star on the Shanghai PD, is also a published poet in his native China. He frequents an inner-city park, Bund Park, for meditation & to read. One morni ...more
I am quite enjoying this series, despite the fact that I seldom read series, or mystery novels in general much anymore. I sought these books out, however, since I'm taking a trip to China in a few months and had found previously that reading fiction based in the places I planned to travel was an easy way to learn about local culture. And in this regard, the Inspector Chen novels are quite rewarding.

Initially I was struck bey the similarities to the Inspector Morse novels, which also feature a "
This is the second in this series of mystery novels set in Shanghai involving the poet/mystery novel translator/ rising party star/ Shanghai detective Chen Cao. This novel circles around the problem of human trafficking and the flood of Chinese who illegally flock to the west under the control of smugglers and find themselves in a form of human bondage. In this particular twist of a tale, an American Marshall comes to China to escort the wife of a potential key witness in a human smuggling trial ...more
Rafa Sánchez
Esta novela es una pequeña obra maestra del género policíaco, llena de virtudes que desbordan al mismo. La trama nos sitúa ante el gran cambio de la China en los años 90, con la apertura al mundo y la necesidad de respeto internacional del nuevo régimen. Todavía están presentes en los personajes el tremendo desastre de la Revolución Cultural, esa huída hacia delante del maoísmo, que no deja a nadie incólume. Nuestro protagonista, el reflexivo inspector Chen Cao, tiene que resolver una misteriosa ...more
I liked this second book even better than the first. The relationship between inspector Chen and his American colleague, the way he introduces her (and us) to Chinese life make the story even more compelling.
I've decided it's misleading to term the inspector Chen series detective novels. They are novels about modern-day China as seen from the viewpoint of a reluctant cadre/murder detective who really longs to indulge his passion for poetry.

With that in mind these are great reads and page-turners for anyone interested in the rapid changes and issues surrounding the rise of China, with an often lacklustre murder mystery thrown in.

Once you get past that, the enjoyment of the story will come and you w
Второй роман из серии приключений старшего полицейского инспектора Чэня Цао. В русском издании идиотское название - "Закон триад".

Герою поручено найти исчезнувшую жену важного свидетеля, который должен давать показания на суде в США. За пропавшей супругой свидетеля прилетела из Штатов федеральный маршал Кэтрин Рон, вместе с которой Чэню и придется разбираться в этом деле, преодолевая политические и культурные различия двух стран. Ну а дело с каждым днем становится все запутаннее и опаснее. Между
The first book I read of this writer and I was nicely surprised. It is a mixture of mystery with everyday novel of the last decade of the previous century in Shanghai.

Inspector Chen Cao is a cadre of the chinese government with good perspectives of promotion in the system. But he is also a bit reluctant about that exact system. He is a poet and an intellectual, speaking excellent english and having critical thinking towards the regime.

He is called to solve the mysterious disappearance of the w
This book suffered from being read immediately after a book by Kazuo Ishiguro set in the same city. Initially, the descriptions of Shanghai seemed somewhat pedestrian after Ishiguro's stunning use of language, however, as I read more I began to enjoy it. The Chinese author has been very successful in portraying the cultural aspects of modern China and shows both the negative and positive sides of an increasingly 'open' China.
The story is based on the international smuggling of Chinese people to
This book is the next in the series after Death of a Red Heroine and as with the previous book, our protagonist is police inspector Chen, who would much rather be writing poetry or translating detective novels from English. Instead, in A Loyal Character Dancer, Chen is unwillingly saddled with the job of looking after a fellow detective from the US, in China to collect the wife of a man in witness protection. This is not as simple as it first appears, since the wife has apparently vanished and i ...more
Joyce Lagow
The second installment in the Chief Inspector Chen of Shanghai series.

Set in 1990's Shanghai, when the Communist Chinese government had just opened the country to Western-style capitalism, this series features Chief Inspector Chen Cao and his partner Detective Yu who form the Special Cases squad of the Shanghai Police Bureau, a group that investigates cases that are politically sensitive.

Trying to eliminate the human smuggling that illegally transports hundreds of Chinese to the US every year, C
As with the first book I really enjoyed the picture painted by the author of China and the complexity of the life of Chief Inspector Chen. The combination of internal party politics, organised crime and corruption overlaid with international tension with the American US Marshall coming to collect a witness for a trial back in the US made for fascinating reading.

I wondered after reading the first book what the author would come out with in his second book to maintain his high standard. He definit

This is the second of this series that I have read ( although not sure what actual number in the series it is). I thought this was a great read, full of mystery, twists and turns with triads a distinguished American guest and of course lots of poetry and mouthwatering descriptions of food.
Chief Inspector Chen is a fascinating character, he is loyal and patriotic but not unaware of his country's problems, a poet and a foodie. He soon fascinates visiting US Marshall Catherine Rohn, who has studied
I really struggled with what to rate this book. This is one of those times when 3.5 stars would be more accurate. I feel guilty giving the book only three but four was just a bit too many.

This is the second in Qiu Xiaolong's series about a Shanghai police inspector, Chen Cao. In this entry, Cao stumbles on the body of an axe murder victim in Bund Park the same day he is assigned to babysit a female US Marshal who has come to collect the wife of a witness in a human smuggling case. Her visit mark
I just love the characters, the atmosphere, and the pacing of these books. The descriptions are rich and poetic. It is truly literary mystery. In this case, Inspector Chen has his hands full. He is first given the responsibility of solving a murder in Bund Park - a body possibly placed there wearing only pyjamas. Next, he must find a missing woman who was to be sent to America to join her husband who will enter the U.S. Witness Protection Program once she arrives. Enter FBI agent Katherine Rohn, ...more
This is the third book I've read by Xialong; like them very much. Interesting views of post-Mao China in the 1990s by way of police detective stories based in Shanghai, and surrounding countryside. Much melding of pre-Mao culture, entrenched Party loyalists, and transitional glimmers of the developing capitalist society. The other books I've read by him are "Death of a Red Heroine" and "The Mao Case". (Within the past three years.)
Rob Kitchin
A Loyal Character Dancer presents an interesting view of China at the start of the period where it opens up to the West in the early 1990s, using the arrival of a US Marshall to explore cultural differences. Chief Inspector Chen is relatively engaging as a lead character, prepared to take risks and challenge the party line and is reflective, quoting poetry as a way of making sense of the world. However, whilst he’s meant to be a talented and skilled cop, he makes a series of poor and amateur jud ...more
An interesting mystery. This is the second in the Inspector Chen series, although I haven't read the first one and it didn't make any difference to this story. A tale of a missing wife, a mystery body in a park, illegal people smuggling, Triads and the complicated workings of the Chinese police. Lots of interesting details about life in Shanghai.

An enjoyable read.
Viel chinesisches Lokalkolorit, und eine angenehme Erzählweise zeichnen den Stil des Autors aus.
Die Einstreuung chinesischer Gedichte fand ich im ersten Roman noch sehr schön und auflockernd, im zweiten war es mir schon etwas zu viel. Die Handlung steht über viele Seiten und wird eigentlich nur im ersten drittel gut vorangetrieben, dann macht sie mehr oder weniger eine Pause während die Hauptpersonen und der Leser eine Führung durch chinesische Städte, vor allem Shanghai und Suzhou machen. Auf d
Loyal Character Dancer filled the need for a really good book following The Night Circus. I know I can count on Qiu Xiaolong for a truly excellent cross-cultural experience and this book delivered. A US Marshall arrives in Shanghai, and Inspector Chen is assigned to be her minder. He has two cases he is working on, and now he is expected to entertain a 'distinguished guest', but his marshall turns out to speak Mandarin and has a good - but not thorough - knowledge of Chinese customs. As I read I ...more
The second Chief Inspector Chen mystery finds him assisting a US Marshall, Catherine Rohn in finding the wife of a man in the witness protection program who is set to testify against the Chinese triads involved in illegal immigration, if his wife is able to come to the US as well.
Inspector Chen is such an interesting character he is fluent in English, a poet and works translating English poetry to Chinese.
This case proves to be quite intricate and involves travel to Fujian province as well as th
Two different stories here. I very nice twisto political mystery on one hand, and then a look at post Cultural Revolution China on the other. Both stories are compelling, and in many places compliment each other, but there are times that the stories get in each other's way and become distractions. Good read ...but it took me longer than is should have.
I was so happy to find more books by Xiaolong. His style reminds me of Larrson’s writing of being literally descriptive of settings, and actions (he left the house and walked out in the street to get coffee). This creates a steady base to contrast to tension and extreme action. It lulls and then shocks, and it also lures you into the main character’s life. Chief Inspect Chen is assigned to work with a US federal Marshall, Catherine to find the pregnant wife of a gangster who has gone to the US. ...more
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Qiu Xiaolong (裘小龙) was born in Shanghai, China. He is the author of the award-winning Inspector Chen series of mystery novels, Death of a Red Heroine (2000), A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006), Red Mandarin Dress (2007), and The Mao Case (2009). He is also the author of two books of poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003) and E ...more
More about Qiu Xiaolong...
Death of a Red Heroine (Inspector Chen Cao #1) When Red Is Black (Inspector Chen Cao #3) Red Mandarin Dress (Inspector Chen Cao #5) A Case of Two Cities (Inspector Chen Cao #4) The Mao Case (Inspector Chen Cao #6)

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