Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mao Case (Inspector Chen Cao #6)” as Want to Read:
The Mao Case (Inspector Chen Cao #6)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mao Case

(Inspector Chen Cao #6)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,119 ratings  ·  139 reviews
Chief Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police Department is the head of the Special Case group and is often put in charge of those cases that are considered politically "sensitive" since, as a rising party cadre, he's regarded by many as reliable. But Inspector Chen, though a poet by inclination and avocation, takes his job as a policeman very seriously, despite the pres ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mao Case, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mao Case

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,119 ratings  ·  139 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Grace Tjan
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warning: possible spoilers ahead


As a whodunit, the sixth Inspector Chen novel is a vast improvement on the first book. The first book already has elements that elevate it above the usual police procedural ---- vivid, at times noir-ish portrait of Shanghai and other Chinese locales; intimate, occasionally gritty observation of the daily lives of Chinese people from all walks of life; commentaries on the oppresive, self-censoring political climate under the Party ---- but the mys
...more
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
...more
Catherine
Mar 21, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Ram Kaushik
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A solid effort in the excellent Chen series! Qiu Xiaolong explores the complexities of modern China with the deftness and nuance it deserves. His explorations of the Cultural Revolution and the atrocities that Mao & his entourage wreaked are gut-wrenching. As is the sinking feeling that judging history through hindsight is the prerogative of the well-fed and secure. The mystery itself progresses nicely through Chen's brooding persona and the finale is satisfying. My guess is that the Chinese ...more
Mark Drew
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This novel started out to be one of the more daring entries in the series with Chen handed his most politically sensitive case to date - but in the final reel, almost all proved to be nothing but empty air.

Chen started out as a series where the crime was just a plot device for the political machinations necessary to satisfy Chen's sense of morality and/or justice, but as the series has progressed it has morphed into pretty much SOP detective stories - so in that light:

Qiu Xiaolong h
...more
Radine Nehring
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dennis Fischman
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I enjoy the character of Chief Inspector Chen (and even more, Detective Yu, his wife Peiqin, and his father, Old Hunter). I am grateful for the insights into Chinese society that Qiu Xiaolong always gives us. In this case, however, I found the plot far-fetched and the motive unconvincing.
Brendan
Sep 11, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
This time we don't start with a body; nobody dies (in the first instance) until about halfway through the book. At first I wasn't sure what it was all about, or where the story was going--but then, neither is Chen Cao when he gets handed a "cold case" that's at least 40 years old! He starts by investigating a girl's grandmother's notorious past--never mind that grandmother and mother have both been dead for decades. At the same time, Chen discovers that his old flame has finally gone out--and ma ...more
Jorge Mendez
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good!

In line of what you will expect from this saga about Inspector Chen and his team. The end,thought is quite interesting
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. Insp
...more
Sara
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 g
...more
Carl R.
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This time it's The Mao Case, and it drags us deeper than ever into Qiu Xiaolong's exploration of the Chinese dilemma with its Maoist history. There are the usual dilemmas here for Chen, his ambivalence about how to exist as both a cop and a poet, how to be in but not of the establishment, how to balance his contempt for the upper cadre of the party with his dependence on them both for his career and his identity.

In the case at hand, it appears that some unknown something that might d
...more
R.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 class
...more
Booknblues
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 do
...more
Fiona Van
Oct 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mike
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Chen gets a politically important case connected to Mao to solve. This one is kind of vague at the beginning, with a classic MacGuffin and everything. Yu and Old Hunter make appearances, though regrettably there is no Overseas Chinese Lu. But the supporting characters don't seem to have all that much to do.

As usual, Chen works to solve the case with his usual combination of doggedness in the face of duty, guangxi and thinking about poetry.

Chen finds himself stuck in small
...more
Donna
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Norma
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, china
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
Annabelle
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Ruth Charchian
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
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
Ian Tymms
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Peter
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
A mixed read with much of interest particularly on the impact of the Cultural Revolution, but also an unconvincing climax, in a plot in which Shanghai Inspector Chen, a published poet, is required by Beijing to establish the changed circumstances of the granddaughter of one of Mao’s former lovers persecuted to death in the late-1960s. Several subsidiary characters are well-drawn and Chinese life nicely portrayed as a girl is murdered in the gardens of an old mansion and another killing follows, ...more
Writerlibrarian
The weakest of all Inspector Chen books so far. This is the newest one. Centered around Mao and the huge shadow the old president still cast upon China, Chen is given a sensitive case to find out what the grand daughter of an ex-mistress of Mao might have on the dead president. The plot is thin, the resolution is revealed in a hurry and comes from left field.
We learn nothing new about the Inspector, his crew Yu, Yu's wife and Yu's father are only ghosts characters in this tale of madness and sh
...more
Jennifer
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
The backdrop of the economic shift in Shanghai in the 1990s is interesting, and Chief Inspector Chen, police officer and poet, is a worthy hero. The mystery was poorly plotted, and the dialogue stilted, but I did enjoy the Mao gossip. I don't know how truly this series reflects modern-day China, but people who want to learn more about the Cultural Revolution may be interested in this fictional revisiting.
Charlotte
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I don't know, I wasn't as thrilled by this one, although I still enjoyed the descriptions of the food. I've normally really enjoyed this series, but the writing seemed a bit off here. I didn't need all the quotation marks to remind me of Chinese phrasing and translations, and the history lesson necessary to move the plot forward seemed clumsy. That said, I do enjoy learning about Chinese history through this series. Just wish this installment had taken its time.
Janice
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not Qiu Xiaolong's best book. Of course, I'm always more interested in character and setting, rather than plot, in mysteries, but this is one of Qiu's more plodding novels. It's mildly interesting to see how Mao is viewed in contemporary China and how the years of the Cultural Revolution still haunt the lives of these Chinese characters. Still, things don't quite come together for me in this book.
Karen
Jun 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, asian
I might not be able to get through another of the books in this series. This one made very little sense and the reader never learned what Inspector Chen was trying to find. Then again, he never found out what it was either, so maybe that was intentional. Toward the end, Chen hears the killer talking and dropping all kinds of clues about himself, but couldn't figure who it was because of a fake dialect/accent? Come on, he's not dumb.
Jessica
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Interesting. I liked all the poetry in it.
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Slicky Boys (Sergeants Sueño and Bascom #2)
  • The Eye of Jade (A Mei Wang Mystery, #1)
  • The Detective Wore Silk Drawers (Sergeant Cribb, #2)
  • Bone Mountain (Inspector Shan, #3)
  • Lovers in the Age of Indifference
  • Stick Out Your Tongue
  • Bettý
  • The Floating Girl (Rei Shimura #4)
  • Chinese Whispers (China Thrillers, #6)
  • Katherine
  • The Boat to Redemption
  • English
See similar books…
317 followers
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 tra ...more

Other books in the series

Inspector Chen Cao (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • 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)
  • A Case of Two Cities (Inspector Chen Cao #4)
  • Red Mandarin Dress (Inspector Chen Cao #5)
  • Don't Cry, Tai Lake (Inspector Chen Cao #7)
  • Enigma of China (Inspector Chen Cao #8)
  • Shanghai Redemption (Inspector Chen Cao #9)
  • Il était une fois l'inspecteur Chen
  • L'ultimo respiro del drago
“Tripes, poumons, coeur de porc, etc., tout cela cuit à la vapeur avec du vin de riz.” 3 likes
“Quizá la identidad de una persona sólo pueda definirse en relación a las identidades de los demás. O quizá cualquier identidad no sea más que una interpretación de los demás” 0 likes
More quotes…