Review of Death of a Red Heroine
This book by Qiu Xiaolong has received a slew of recognition and is also a BBC Radio show, so was really looking forward to reading it.
Set in post Tiananmen Square, Shanghai; it follows the main protagonist Inspector Chen in his bid to solve the mystery behind the murder of a ‘National Model Party Worker’…. whose naked body was found floating in a canal.
The character of Inspector Chen is quite contrary to the typical Inspectors you find in western fiction. He is not the broody, dysfunctional loner, whom the system in constantly trying to put down. Chen is a product of the system and by the system. He is the favored one, getting a house allocated earlier, fast track promotions etc. He does not flaunt it but he does enjoy his privileges despite some sporadic, half-hearted soul searching. It was an interesting take.
So if you are looking for a book that has some insightful descriptions and is partly pan-historical (China 25 plus years ago) and partly realistic fiction, then go for this. If you are looking for a nail biting detective mystery, this is not for you.