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The Mao Case (Inspector Chen Cao #6)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  548 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Department is often assigned cases considered politically "sensitive," and now the Minister of Public Security insists thatChen personallytake on a 'special assignment.' Leery of international embarrassment, the partyis concerned about rumors related to Chairman Mao. Jiao, the granddaughter of an actress who had a 'special re...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 928)
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Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Cultural Revolution, Red guards, Triads, jaded film stars and crumbling mansions, backstreets, noodle shops, old ramshackle streets contrasting with the new Shanghai. A society that, on the surface, appears to be undergoing great changes, an apparent liberation. People relax and swim in their illusions - the yellow brick road leads to tanks on Tianaman Square and to the gulag.
Now, I may be overdressing the cake a bit too much but I cannot help the thoughts this book inspired. It is full of peopl...more
Catherine
This feels like the heftiest of the Chen novels so far - the one with the greatest direct criticisms to make of China's history since 1949, and the most complex examination of who was being taken care of, and who was being left behind, in the upheaval of the 1990s. There was a lot here to feast on - the reminiscences of 1930s Shanghai; the details of how different groups were treated during the Cultural Revolution; the fortunes of those who rode high with Mao; the effects of his policies on Chin...more
Gerund
This is the sixth novel starring Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Bureau, and as fans of the series will know, China-born American author Qiu Xiaolong isn’t interested in a simple whodunnit.

Let’s make it clear first that this is a page-turning mystery, involving murder and a gripping, high-stakes climax. However, this mystery is also a springboard for Qiu to explore the ethos of contemporary China in general and Shanghai in particular.

This is a place ruled in the name of communis...more
Radine Nehring
Marvelous novel! This Inspector Chen story took me to Shanghai, and taught me so much about Chinese culture and politics. The writing is poetic and complex, not unexpected from Qiu Xiaolong, a former resident of Shanghai and also an accomplished poet in both Chinese and English. The story involves the lives of three women, mother, daughter, and granddaughter. The mother was one of Mao's "favored women" and Chinese security today believes she passed on an item or secrets that might damage Mao's r...more
Ian Tymms
I'm surprised this book doesn't get better reviews. It's much more than a detective novel but I wonder if its dominant grounding in the detective genre is clouding the view of reviewers. As a detective novel, it works well but doesn't stand out; as a highly engaging exploration of the psychology of power and the history of totalitarian leadership in China, it is, I think, outstanding. The mix of poetry, Confucian ethics, history and a rollicking yarn to boot made this one of my best reads of the...more
Barbara ★
I read this book because once again I needed an "X" author for a challenge. I have firmly determined that "X" will just have to be one of those letters I can't fulfill.

Amateur poet Chief Inspector Chen Cao is investigating a seemingly made up case about Chairman Mao. Apparently Mao had an affair with an actress and might have (yes might have!) given her something that would be damaging to his image. So Internal Security is harassing her granddaughter as the only living relative. Inspector Chen i...more
Fiona Van
This is my sixth Inspector Chen novel. To someone from the West who reads a lot of detective fiction, these books are a revelation. I have been fixed on them, since coming across Death of a Red Heroine, because of the fascinating insight into Chinese police procedure. Chen is an English graduate, who has published a thesis on T S Elliot. He is a policeman because he was instructed to join the police on graduation. He has risen to a position where he is specially assigned to politically sensitive...more
Rachel
Chen is a chief inspector detective in Shanghai, China. He's also an amateur poet/writer, and a man nursing a broken heart. He's called by higher ups to investigate a young woman who's grandmother is believed/presumed to have had a sexual relationship with Chairman Mao, back in the day, before the Cultural Revolution destroyed her and her daughter. Party leaders believe that the granddaughter, Jiao, has some relic from Mao that could be embarassing to Mao and the Communist party. Chen is given a...more
Sara
Let's see, a month since I read this, and my memory has dimmed!
There is the usual Qiu theme:
"In these days of increasingly rampant corruption and an ever-enlarging gap between the rich and poor, some were beginning to miss Mao, imagining that they had had better days under him. The utopian society of egalitarianism as advocated by Mao remained attractive to a lot of people."

In this book we hear about the darker private side of Mao - "a man of snake and spider heart" who got rid of his wife Kaihu...more
Bob
A writer friend of mine, Joan Drury (she owns Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais, MN) recommended this book to me during a recent trip. She said Qiu is one of her new favorite authors. It was a great recommendation!

The book is actually sixth in a detective series set in Shanghai, China with the main character, Chief Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Bureau. The book’s author, Xiaolong, is a translator and poet who lives in the states now. This book includes many quotations of classic Chinese p...more
Booknblues
Well, rats! I don't have any more Chief Inspector Chen mysteries to read, so I hope that Qiu Xiaolong soon completes another one. I love the characters Chen of course who is torn between a police inspector and an intellectual who wants to be a filial son to his mother, but seems too much of a confirmed bachelor to provide her with grandchildren.

Yu his humble partner who is canny like his father, Old Hunter also a policeman. Yu deeply loves his smart and hardworking wife Pequin who does her best...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
Mao e il moralismo cinese

nuova avventura per Chen Cao
ispettore della polizia di Shanghai
in forza alla sezione "casi sensibili",
ossia quelli che coinvolgono il Partito
e di cui è meglio che non si parli.
Ecco cominciamo da questo: è normale nella
Cina degli anni ottanta
che se un caso di polizia riguarda un membro
del Partito la prima cosa di cui ci si
deve preoccupare è che non venga fuori nulla...
insomma censura di stato e complotti a non finire
per coprire i funzionari di partito che non...more
Brendan
The Mao Case relates another adventure of Chief Inspector Chen, an inspector in the modern Shanghai police force. It does a great job of helping explain the complex dynamics of a society trying to be both capitalist and communist at the same time. The mystery involves a young woman whose grandmother had an illicit affair with Mao. The young woman may have inherited some damaging "Mao material" that the party wants investigated, confiscated, and suppressed. Inspector Chen has to navigate a comple...more
Laura
At first I had a time getting into the story but when Chief Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Department stared to investigate the case I couldn't put it down, and in the end - no I didn't guess who was the culprit. I love how he searches out each lead even when it means traveling and being patience with people, this book has me thinking I will follow this author for a while who spins wonderful tails in his investigation hunt.

Donna
2.5 *

I didn't particularly like this book and I really didn't enjoy the writing style. I don't think it was a bad book per se, but I do feel that it was clumsy and cluncky, and the end was really overwritten. As our detective finally puts the pieces together you can't help but think, well duh, having come to that conclusion a fair while earlier. The way he played with expectations of the genre was pretty interesting (to the extent that it didn't really feel like a detective novel at all) and hi...more
Mike
I trust the author's depiction of Mao and found the book, in addition to being a mystery, to be an interesting commentary on the Cultural Revolution, the politics of the time, poetry, and the economic changes going in on China during the 1990's. Ling is married and there does not appear to be a future with White Cloud. So, on to the next story in the series.
Riikka
Takakansiteksti:
Maon yksityiselämän salaisuudet ovat vaarassa paljastua. Tulenarkaa aihetta selvittelevä dekkari on kuudes ylikomisario Chen Caosta kertovassa menestyssarjassa.

Kiinan ylin puoluejohto on huolissaan Maon rakastajattaren jälkeläisen äkkirikastumisesta. Onko nainen saanut käsiinsä entiseen johtajaan liittyvää arkaluontoista materiaalia? Tapausta selvittämään määrätty ylikomisario Chen Cao tutustuu naisen boheemeista taiteilijoista koostuvaan ystäväpiiriin. Tutkimus saa kuitenkin uh...more
Rafa Sánchez
Finalmente, un colofón a la serie de novelas policiales cuyo trasfondo es la terrible Revolución Cultural en la que millones de chinos fueron víctimas del totalitarismo maoísta, esta novela supone un ajuste de cuentas con el principal culpable de la misma: Mao Zedong. En mi opinion, la mezcla de tramas y biografías marcadas por la catástrofe me parece magistral. El clímax final es hasta ahora el mejor de la serie, por eso me atrevo a ponerle 5 estrellas, y la forma en la que el escritor refleja...more
Al
After the rather disappointing "Red Mandarin Dress", this is a return to form, although there is clearly still mileage in the main characters. It felt like the plot was promted by various real-world books about Mao's private life, particularly Jung Chang's "Mao: The Unknown Story". It does a very good job of sketching in the details of Mao without overburdening the story. Dealing with Mao, his behaviour and his legacy, it contains the authors clearest denunciation of the man while still leaving...more
Norma
Another good read from Qiu Xiaolong a resident of St Louis, MO.

Chief Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Department is assigned a politically sensitive case by the Minister of Public Security. Jiao is the grandaughter of a woman that was a "special friend" of Mao. The girl has gone from poverty to living a life of luxury. Jiao has also developed new friendships with individuals that were part of pre-communist Shanghai society. All of this leads to questions about her sudden change in lifestyl...more
Susan
Inspector Chen returns, delighting in good food but seldom able to finish a meal, preoccupied with his aging mother but unable to exit his bachelor status, a cell phone victim smoking like a fiend. As ever, Qiu is looking at the long shadow of the Cultural Revolution. Packed with poetry and ample with aphorisms, THE MAO CASE is more cruel and more intellectually challenging than Qiu's earlier crime novels as Mao's shadow insinuates itself, striking at Inspector Chen and continuing a cycle of vio...more
Rose
I thought that this was a really good book and couldn't put it down until i finished it. There was a lot of random stuff going on though :P I also found the ending a bit disappointing but really good book.
Duckyday
Mystery novels continue to tempt me but never satisfy. In this case, the cultural aspects kept me reading...how does one prepare this Chinese meal? but the "mystery" itself was not compelling.
Annabelle
I love Xiaolong, but I think he is writing too many books to fast. He still has a dense style of moving into the daily life in Shanghai, but there is really not mystery here. His theme of pointing out the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution and the lives that were ruined continues. This book centers on the granddaughter, Jiao, of a movie star, Shang who slept with Mao, and supposedly passed something embarrassing down to Jian. There is a trip to Beigjing for Chen, the main character detective,...more
Elizabeth Wood
I have always enjoyed this series, but this one seemed repetitive of the others and felt as if it was rushed in its execution. Maybe the novelty has worn off?
Iliotropio
Feb 18, 2014 Iliotropio marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12491072
Ruth Charchian
What happens when you are desperate to read something and grab a book off the library shelves without looking at the reviews. This book is about a Chinese detective (Chen) who is asked to lead an investigation into why the daughter of a dead movie star is living a lavish life. He happens to also love poetry with the unique Chinese poetry cadence and rhythm. The poetry inserted frequently throughout may appeal to other readers but it was a distraction from the story line for me. It was not a page...more
Jennifer
This is the latest Inspector Chen books. Xiaolong writes a good detective story and this follows pretty much similarly to his other books. I have always enjoyed the picture that he paints of contemporary China. I think I enjoyed his earlier books better, only because you got a clear sense of how China has been changing since the Cultural Revolution. This was engrossing, particularly when I went to China. It's been a couple of years now, and I am less familiar with what is going on.

However, if yo...more
Scilla
Inspector Chen is given a special case to find out about Jiao, granddaughter of the actress Shang, who was a concubine of Mao. Jiao has suddenly appeared to have access to money and the party is worried that she may be selling Mao artifacts which might be embarrassing. Chen is helped by the Old Hunter, father of Chen's assistant, Yu as well as Yu's wife Peiqin who plays maid in order to spy on Jiao. Chen goes to Beijing where he is helped by his former girlfriend Ling. There are descriptions of...more
Catherine Woodman
I agree with the characterizaation by another reviewer of Inspector Chen as the Chinese Inspector Dagliesh--he is the right amount of brainy and intuitive mixed with a healthy skepticism of human behavior and motivation. He is a poet in his soul, but in post modern China, that will never do, so he is a police inspector, and he gets wrapped up in a case, that leads him down some unusual paths, with a kind of unusual ending as well. The characterization of Mao in this book is very interesting, and...more
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9155
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) A Loyal Character Dancer (Inspector Chen Cao #2) When Red Is Black (Inspector Chen Cao #3) Red Mandarin Dress (Inspector Chen Cao #5) A Case of Two Cities (Inspector Chen Cao #4)

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