Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Qiu Xiaolong's Death of a Red Heroine

Qiu Xiaolong's Death of a Red Heroine is a political police procedural that takes place in 1990s Shanghai. The setting is important because the case revolves around the changing politics of the era, where capitalist reforms are underway and there is an uneasy relationship between high cadres, their children (HCCs), the average person, and those who had been imprisoned but were now rehabilitated politically. There is considerable distrust.

The victim is a model worker, by the 1990s an almost outdated phenomenon, which means a person deemed to publicly embody the best elements of the Communist Party. Inspector Chen is charged with investigating the murder, and before long he is taking on an HCC. The middle of the novel dragged for a me a little, with all the intricate political dances, but the latter half was really entertaining even though by that point there was no mystery anymore.

Chen himself is a published poet, and the book is loaded with snippets of classic Chinese poets, along with close attention to food and culture. They represent something solid in an otherwise shifting and uncertain political and social landscape. Chen himself is committed to doing the right thing--finding the murderer--regardless of the politics that surround it, and there is a twist at the end that leaves him pondering how hard that can be in China.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP