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The Interior (Red Princess #2)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,580 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
In our world, two years have passed since the publication of Flower Net, Lisa See's debut in thriller fiction, but as The Interior begins, only a few months have passed since Liu Hulan, a detective in Communist China's Ministry of Public Security, and U.S. Attorney David Stark first teamed up to catch a murderer--and rekindled their old love affair. Now, as David struggles ...more
Paperback, 431 pages
Published 2000 by Arrow Books (first published 1999)
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Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
I have a theory that Lisa See packed all she wanted to say about modern China into her three detective novels about Inspector Liu Hulan, the "red princess" of the series title, then went back to the historical romances she prefers. And her detective writing was improving; the third one, Dragon Bones, is quite a bit better than this second one. She tells a good story, though she doesn't always tell it well. She is strongest when in the throes of a dialogue on legal niceties or political issues, w ...more
Graham Crawford
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Lisa See is a pedestrian writer who has a lot of interesting things to say about late 20th Century China and social justice issues. For the most part I can forgive her lack of ability because 2/3 of this book is packed with well researched information - village life in the interior, factory exploitation, & surviving the Cultural Revolution. It's pretty obvious she wants to use the Crime novel genre to bring this world to a wider audience (and higher sales!). I just wish she could write ficti ...more
Lauri Saplad
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lisa See is wonderful, as always, with a well-researched and structured story. This one really gets to the heartland of China, exploring not only the culture and politics, but really seeing what life is like for the peasants & working class. It makes you explore your own Western morals and ideals at the same time. China is vast and will probably always seem mysterious and a little strange to us. The Interior gives us a glance into life there.
Sep 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is a classic "wish I could give half a star" book; 2.5 stars is what I want to give. See's work is an interesting combo -- fairly lousy dialogue and clunky exposition paired with good-enough plotting and a truly fascinating inside look at contemporary Chinese society. I loved reading the details of how people eat, travel, relate to each other so I just gritted my teeth through the awkward points (myriad).
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this, even though I hadn't read the first book in the series. Of course, I had visited Taiyuan before. I like her description and the chance to talk about cultures, as well as a good story.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Nicely plotted and well narrated. Like the 1st novel better but this held up.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Editorial Reviews Review
In our world, two years have passed since the publication of Flower Net, Lisa See's debut in thriller fiction, but as The Interior begins, only a few months have passed since Liu Hulan, a detective in Communist China's Ministry of Public Security, and U.S. Attorney David Stark first teamed up to catch a murderer--and rekindled their old love affair. Now, as David struggles to find a way to get back to China--or convince Hulan to move to America--Hulan goes to th
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, but the characters spent too much time speculating on the who, what, where, when, and why of the cases they were investigating. I wish they had spent more time on their relationships! This is the 2nd in the Red Princess series with Lawyer David Stark (U.S. Attorney's office) and Chinese investigator Liu Hulan (Ministry of Public Security). Hulan receives an urgent letter from an old friend, Suchee, of her Cultural Revolution days. It seems Suchee's daughter, Miaoshan has commi ...more
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
A second mystery by the author of Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, Peony In Love, Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy, as well as my , Flower Net. In fact, this can be said to be the second in a series behind Flower Net, b/c it has the same main characters, Hulan (a Chinese investigator) and David (a US attorney). This time, Hulan, still in China, is expecting David’s baby and David, back in the States, is eager for a job opportunity that would bring him back to China. When his former boss and law ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chinese-fiction
Having read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" several years ago, I was really looking forward to reading this book. Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed. The plot line drags and is very confusing at times. There is a lot of background information about Chinese life in the 21st century in both Beijing and the "Interior," where this book takes place - Shanxi Province to be specific. I found the information about American and Western firms setting up factories in the hinterlands of China inter ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
David Stark, an attorney, is asked to open a law office in Beijing, China. Liu Hulan, David's lover, is asked by an old friend to investigate the death of her daughter. The daughter worked at an American owned toy factory that is about to be sold to David's client Tartan Enterprises. Hulan goes undercover at the toy factory. There she is forced to face her past, which she has long been avoiding. Hulan finds more questions than answers, all leading to David's client. The two lovers find themselve ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
I found this book to be so incredibly boring. I liked Shanghai Girls so much and I kept thinking that The Interior HAD to get better. It didn't. Even the faster paced chapters where everything was coming to a resolution were boring. This makes me hesitant to read anything else from See other than Finding Joy (the sequel to SG). Disappointing!
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I don't know why, but I just don't enjoy Lisa See's mystery novels as much as I enjoyed her historical fiction books. Which coming from me is bizarre as I don't particularly like historical fiction, but love mysteries! Still, I love getting lost in the Chinese culture and descriptions of the country.
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A thrilling page-turner of a murder mystery with the added bonus of Chinese and American cultural clashes, with interesting insights into Chinese politics.
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved it!!! See other reviews on the Liu Hulan series. Excellent story line!
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Liu Hulan is an investigator with China’s version of the FBI. Considered a “Red Princess”, she has more money and privilege beyond that of most Chinese citizens, but even so, she’s taking risks by having a white American for a lover and getting pregnant without a permit. Her lover, David Stark, is an American attorney who jumps at the chance to go into private practice when a firm offers him a posting in China and he can live with Hulan. This is following an attempt on his life and the shocking ...more
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
My first grown up book (which I read when I was 12) was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck and I was fascinated by the description of life in China. Lisa See continues the in-depth look at China and it's people in her books and I have been enjoying her books
The Interior continues with the cases of detective Hulan who works with the Ministry of Public Security and though it is not a fast-paced potboiler I enjoyed the reading about the cultural, traditional and political details of modern day China.
Laura Beasley
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book . It was different from the other books I have read by this author. It was a mystery but it was good. The story takes place in china and just a little in the USA. Liu Hulan is an inspector in China and is pregnant by an American attorney named David. Hulan is contacted by a former friend that wants her to help find out what happened / who killed her daughter. David takes a job back in China and find that his new job and Hulan's search are leading them to conflict. Liu goes to ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asia, mystery
I love the cultural aspects of Lisa See's books. This story focuses on factory laborers in China and the exploitation that happens. I breezed through this book and had trouble putting it down at night. My deduction of one star is for the ending. The explanation and unmasking took way too long. It actually took so long that I had trouble understanding all of the pieces. I'm looking forward to reading the final book in the series.
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit more gruesome than I prefer. A bit hard to follow the character names in the audio format due to them being unfamiliar to me. However the character development and the description of life in China make this an interesting read.
Tani Garberg
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really like Lisa See books because I learn so much about the culture of China. This second book in the Red Princess series told an interesting story. Can’t wait to finish the series with the next book.
Melissa M
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Lisa See's books. I am a fan. She is such a great writer. This book was different than her others. I think they are more of a detective/mystery story. I still enjoyed it.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, own
This was just as good as the first in the trilogy.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was better than the first in the series. It was gripping and more (mostly?) believable.
Susan Honthumb
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Amazing book. I can't get enough of Lisa See's writing.
Susan Storrs
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
China Today

I've read novels about China years ago, but I knew nothing about China today. That and the characters and plot make See's mysteries fun to read.
Caroline Hayes
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! I hope See will consider writing more of the Red Princess mysteries! Loved all three of them!
Susan Lee
Overall a good read with well thought plots. A mix between Nora Roberts's Death series and Angela Lansbury's Murder She Wrote, Lisa See managed to blend in the east and west making the story as entertaining.

Here's my full review:
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Critical reviews of See's books do not represent common readers. Her stories are vibrant, historical, and intriguing. Avid readers of China and it's history and mystery will like this book.
Emily Bell
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
What I Liked
I did like The Interior more than I did The Flower Net. The concept of Hulan working undercover in a Chinese sweatshop had me fascinated, as well as the convenient suicides of the women who became injured in the factory.

What I Didn't Like
The Red Princess trilogy was Lisa See's first attempt at fiction-writing, and this shows too much. The character development is weak. Huge amounts of backstory or relational context are dumped in pages and a lot is "told" rather than "shown" about Hu
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Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

More about Lisa See

Other books in the series

Red Princess (3 books)
  • Flower Net (Red Princess, #1)
  • Dragon Bones (Red Princess, #3)

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