A Case of Two Cities:
An Inspector Chen Mystery

Qiu Xiaolong

Sceptre 2006
A book review by Danny Yee © 2010 https://dannyreviews.com/
Inspector Chen of the Shanghai police is given a special mandate by the Central Party Discipline Committee to investigate the connections of a shady businessman who has fled to the United States. But some of the figures he interviews turn up dead, while others try to intimidate him by threatening his aging mother. And then, mid-way through the investigation, Chen, who is also a published poet, is appointed to head a delegation of writers to the United States.

There is no detail of police procedure in A Case of Two Cities, in contrast to the writers' conferences, where Qiu Xiaolong is clearly on more familiar territory. And it's entertaining when Chen and his friends quote Tang poetry at each other and trade aphorisms, but that doesn't seem entirely realistic.

The plot and the setting are good enough to carry the story, however, despite a lack of emotional tension or engagement. A Case of Two Cities is an easy and pleasant read.

February 2010

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%T A Case of Two Cities
%S An Inspector Chen Mystery
%A Qiu Xiaolong
%I Sceptre
%D 2006
%O hardcover
%G ISBN-13 9780340898529
%P 307pp