Spiros's Reviews > Red Mandarin Dress

Red Mandarin Dress by Qiu Xiaolong
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's review
Sep 23, 08

liked it
bookshelves: bins
Recommended for: fans of complex police procedurals
Read in September, 2008

When Chief Inspector Chen decides to go back to school to deconstruct Chinese romance narratives in order to avoid investigating a messy corruption scandal, Detective Yu is left holding the bag while Shanghai is suffering the predations of China's first serial killer. Such an investigation is problematic in a society which barely recognizes psychology, and in a political climate which postulates that all crime is counterrevolutionary, and that serial killers are only possible in the Decadent West.
Outside of NAME OF THE ROSE, I can't recall reading a mystery novel more informed by semiotic discussion. While the identity of the culprit is obvious about halfway through the novel, the suspense is created in watching Chen defuse a potentially fraught political situaion.

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