The Crime Fiction Alphabet: X is for Xiaolong, Qiu Xiaolong

Esta entrada es bilingüe, desplazarse hacia abajo para ver la versión en castellano.

The Alphabet in Crime Fiction, hosted by Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise, has arrived this week to letter X. You can click HERE to find out the contributions of other fellow participants, please do visit their blogs. I’m sure that you will find out some interesting books to read.

My X is for Xiaolong. Qiu Xiaolong (1953) was born in Shanghai, China, and, since 1988, has lived in St. Louis, Missouri. A poet and a translator, he has an MA and a Ph.D. from Washington University. He is the author of Inspector Chen series (an Inspector with the Shanghai Police Bureau), including the award-winning 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), The Mao Case (2009), and Don’t Cry Tai Lake (due August 30, 2011).

He has also published a non-series book,Years of Red Dust: Stories of Shanghai (2010), two books of poetry translations, Treasury of Chinese Love Poems (2003) and Evoking T’ang(2007), and his own poetry collection, Lines Around China(2003).

You can find HERE my review of Death of a Red Heroine, winner of the 2001 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and a finalist for the 2001 Barry Award for Best First Novel and the 2001 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. At some stage I expect to read the next books in the series.

One of the aspects that interested me most of his books is that they refer to police work under a totalitarian regime, and in this sense analysing the relationship that may exist with other authors, such as Ernesto Mallo, Carlo Lucarelli or Pétros Markaris among others, whose main character, is carried out or it has been carried out under a totalitarian regime.

For additional information visit:

Surfing on the Internet, I came across this article on the history of crime fiction in China, which I hope you will find interesting.

El Alfabeto del Crimen: X es por Xiaolong, Qiu Xiaolong

El alfabeto del crimen, organizado por Kerrie en Mysteries in Paradise, llega esta semana a la letra “X”. Puede hacer clic AQUÍ para ver las aportaciones del resto de participantes, por favor visite sus blogs. Estoy seguro de que se encontrará con algunas recomendaciones interesantes.

Mi X es por Xiaolong. Qiu Xiaolong nació en Shanghai en 1953 y vivió en esa ciudad hasta 1966, año en que se trasladó a Estados Unidos. En la actualidad vive en St. Louis, Missouri, en cuya universidad imparte clases. Poeta y traductor al chino de clásicos norteamericanos, es sobre todo conocido por la serie de novelas policiacas protagonizadas por el inspector jefe Chen Cao, cuyo primer título Muerte de una heroína roja (2000) fue galardonado con el Premio Anthony a la Mejor Primera Novela y finalista del Premio Edgar. El resto de los títulos de la serie, publicados hasta el momento en España, son Visado para Shanghai (2002), Cuando el rojo es negro (2004), El caso de las dos ciudades (2006), Seda roja (2007) y El caso Mao (2009).

Uno de los aspectos que más me ha interesado de sus libros es que se refieren a la labor de la policía bajo un régimen totalitario y, en este sentido, analizar la relación que pueda existir con otros autores como Ernesto Mallo, Carlo Lucarelli o Pétros Markaris entre otros, cuyo protagonista también desarrolla o ha desarrollado su actividad bajo un régimen totalitario.

Death of a Red Heroine, by Qiu Xiaolong

Death of a Red Heroine is a debut novel by Qiu Xiaolong. It is also the first one in a series featuring Chief Inspector Chen Cao, head of the special case squad, Homicide Division, Shanghai Police Bureau and his assistant Detective Yu Guangming. Although first published in 2000, the action takes place in 1990, at the beginning of the great socio-economic changes initiated by Deng Xiaoping a few months after the events of Tiananmen Square.

The book opens when the body of a young woman, wrapped in a black plastic bag, is found in a remote canal. The woman was naked. She was strangled after a possible sexual assault. Although the special squad does not have to take this case, Chief Inspector Chen decides to wait until some evidence appears before turning it over to the sex homicide group. But when her picture was distributed and posted in public places, a security man from Shanghai First Department Store recognises her as Guan Hongying (Hong for the colour red, and Ying for heroine), a national model worker, a cadre and party member, of course.

The argument of this murder mystery serves well to provide a vivid portrait of China during its transition period and it captures the reader attention and submerges him into its history, culture, poetry and culinary tradition, through multiple individual stories. For my taste the book offers a superb introduction to China and it was a worthwhile read. It won’t take me long to read the next book in the series. It is no surprise that Death of a Red Heroine was the winner of the Anthony Award for Best First Crime Novel and it was short-listed for the Edgar Award for Best First Crime Novel.Globus 2

This is my third Asia book on Dorte’s 2010 Global Reading Challenge.

Qiu Xiaolong 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). His last book Years of Red Dust will be released on September 28, 2010. He currently lives in St. Louis with his wife and daughter (from his website).

Death of a Red Heroine has been reviewed by Maxine at Petrona, Norman at Crime Scraps, Craig at Crime Watch, Reviewing the Evidence, Un cadaver en mi blog (in Spanish). See also Mis detectives favoritos (in Spanish).

Qiu Xiaolong’s interview at Scene of the Crime

Read a Sample Chapter

Hodder and Stoughton

Qiu Xiaolong Official Website

Death of a Red Heroine

Qiu Xiaolong

First published in the United Sates of America by Soho Press in 2000

First published in Great Britain in 2006 by Hodder and Stoughton

Number of pages: 470.

ISBN: 978-0340-89750-8

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