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Don't Cry, Tai Lake by Xiaolong Qiu

Don't Cry, Tai Lake (2011)

by Xiaolong Qiu

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This is the fifth of the Inspector Chen Cao stories that I have read, and the one I enjoyed least. The fascinating thing about these books is the insight they give into contemporary China, especially the lives of ordinary people, and "Don't Cry, Tai Lake" still does that. It also deals with an issue, environmental pollution, that is undoubtedly of major concern in China, as elsewhere.
A lot of things annoyed me, however. Principally, various strained coincidences that the plot depends on and, even more, what I consider various weaknesses in the style of writing. Sometimes I wonder if Qiu's clichés and solecisms are a deliberate attempt to add to the 'foreign' atmosphere (as do the frequent references to Chinese classics and sayings), but I increasingly found myself more involved in the typos (in the ebook) and poor style than in the characters, location or plot. Maybe Qiu just needs a new editor! ( )
  frogball | Aug 23, 2015 |
A satisfying mystery, Inspector Chen is growing on me. ( )
  fphoppe | Feb 5, 2014 |
While it was a great mystery, I like how Qiu hit on the environmental issues and how as long as the area is thriving pollution is a problem for tomorrow not today. I enjoyed the story and the twists when you thought you knew who did it, another light was brought in to make you think otherwise. I enjoyed the connection of all the characters. A good read! ( )
1 vote rayneofdarkness | Aug 12, 2013 |
In Don't Cry, Tai Lake, Qiu Xiaolong's detective, Inspector Chen, investigates the murder of the head of a state-run chemical company that is about to go public. Chen is supposed to be on vacation--a vacation arranged for him by his mentor, Comrade Secretary Zhao. Apparently, Zhao wants to bring the lake's pollution to the attention of the Party, so he needs Chen to visit Wuxi and write a report on what he finds there (which in this case is murder).

Chen not only finds a murder mystery, but a romance, too, with a young environmental scientist, Shanshan. There is a air of nostalgia about the entire novel, partly because of Chen's own backstory, but also because of his frequent references to poetry, both Chinese and western. There is also the contrast between the appearance of the lake and its hidden but serious environmental problems because of China's boom in terms of development.

I enjoyed the book, not so much because of the mystery, but because of Chen himself as a character and because of his poetry. ( )
1 vote Denise701 | Jul 22, 2012 |
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Offered a luxury vacation near Lake Tai, Chief Inspector Chen Cao is drawn into the murder investigation of a manufacturing plant director who had been accused of polluting the once-beautiful lake, a case that implicates the leader of a local ecological group.… (more)

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