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The Flower Net (1997)

by Lisa See

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Red Princess (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6392131,424 (3.37)47
A Los Angeles district attorney travels to China to join forces with a Chineses detective to investigate a series of gory high-profile murders.
  1. 10
    Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: These books have a similar setting and time period and will probably appeal to the same readers.
  2. 01
    Peony in Love by Lisa See (leahsimone)

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» See also 47 mentions

English (19)  Spanish (2)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
  archivomorero | Nov 9, 2022 |
Lisa See’s first novel, published in 1997, is a murder mystery set in Beijing and Los Angeles. A female police detective in China, Liu Hulan, and an American attorney, David Stark, must work together to solve two related murders. The victims are the son of the American Ambassador to China and the son of a wealthy Chinese businessman. Hulan and David were previously in a relationship when she lived in the US for her legal education.

I enjoyed the cultural and historical elements, particularly the way Americans miss some of the subtleties of Chinese social interactions. Except for Hulan, the characters are somewhat wooden. The romance seems superfluous. Much of the dialogue is created to inform the reader (many lines begin with “as you know…”). There are a few parts that are particularly gruesome. It is a decent mystery, but I much prefer the author’s later works of historical fiction.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
This was Lisa See's debut novel, and not really up to the standards of her later books.

Interesting premise: two young men die of a strange and unique poison. One man is American and is found in China. The other man is Chinese and is found in America. Both countries have an interest in solving the murders.

The plot was good, the dialogue and character development weren't.

There was an interesting line about tensions over Hong Kong. So similar to recent current events I had to go back to look at the original publication date: 1997. I guess some things haven't changed much in the 25 years since then. ( )
  sriddell | Aug 6, 2022 |
Digital audiobook narrated by Elaina Davis (abridged)

From the book jacket: In the depths of a Beijing winter, the U.S. ambassador’s son is found dead – his body entombed in a frozen lake. Around the same time, aboard a ship adrift off the coast of Southern California, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark discovers the corpse of a Red Prince, a scion of China’s political elite. The Chinese and American governments suspect that the deaths are connected, and they join forces to see justice done. In Beijing, David teams up with the female police detective Liu Hulan, in an investigation that takes them to every corner of China and sparks an intense attraction between the two.

My reaction
Before she rocketed to fame with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan See wrote a short series of mysteries, of which this is the first. What I liked most about this book was the look at China – from karaoke bars to the neighborhoods housing the working class, from high-powered businessmen to prostitutes, See gave the reader a look under the blanket of the typical tourist-friendly experience. The plot is convoluted and full of twists and turns, as much political intrigue as murder mystery.

Liu Hulan is an interesting and conflicted character. Having been educated in the U.S. she seems a logical choice to partner with the U.S. attorney for the investigation. But their previous relationship and the personal issues between them kept distracting me from the central mystery.

Elaina Davis does a good job of narrating the audiobook, but it wasn’t until after I had listened to about half of it that I realized it was an abridged version. Fortunately, I had the text as well so could read the full book, which meant I got much more of Liu Hulan explaining Chinese culture to David than action. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 9, 2022 |
This was an intriguing mystery that spanned two countries (the United States and China). I liked the book's sense of place and time (it was written in the 1990s). The characters were OK, I think I liked Hulan a bit better than David. The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing, but I didn't enjoy the love story aspect. I expected it to be a quicker read, but the descriptions were very detailed and the plot was a bit complicated so it took longer than average for me to finish it. Over all, I liked the setting of the mystery and would read more in the series. ( )
  Cora-R | Apr 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa Seeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Buckley, LynnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eräpuro, AnnikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moral Bartolomé, GemaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perria LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reppert-Bismarck, Leonie vonÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, LizaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sund, HaraldPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For my husband, with love
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Wing Yun held tightly to his granddaughter's mittened hand as he guided her in slow rhythmic glides across the frozen expanse of Bei Hai Lake just outside the burnished walls of the Forbidden City.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A Los Angeles district attorney travels to China to join forces with a Chineses detective to investigate a series of gory high-profile murders.

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Average: (3.37)
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