George V. Reilly

Review: Death of a Red Heroine

Death of a Red Heroine
Title: Death of a Red Heroine
Author: Qiu Xiaolong
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Soho Crime
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 464
Keywords: crime, China
Reading period: 27 December, 2016–6 January, 2017

Chen Cao is an unlikely new Chief Inspector in the Shanghai Police in 1990, as he’s a poet, a scholar of T.S. Eliot, and a translator of English detective novels. In Death of a Red Heroine, a national model worker has been found murdered in a canal. The death is po­lit­i­cal­ly sensitive and Chen’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion leads him towards the son of a high-ranking cadre, which makes his position even more tenuous.

Qiu is as much concerned with the changes then happening in China—the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution and en­croach­ing cap­i­tal­is­m—as he is with the detective story.

Not your usual murder mystery.

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