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Enigma of China: An Inspector Chen Novel - Qiu Xiaolong

I'm a big fan of the Chief Inspector Chen Cao series. All of the books give a fascinating picture of present-day China, and just as China has changed over the years, so have the plots of the mysteries and Chen Cao himself. Before I read this latest book, I was skeptical of the claim in Publishers Weekly that the series "has gotten stronger with age," because I hadn't actually found that to be true of the previous book, Don't Cry for Me, Tai Lake. But in this novel, Chen has actually matured as a character: his relationship with the female journalist Lianping seems much more realistic than his relationships with women in the previous books, which always seemed a bit idealized to me. Also, a strength in the whole series is the glimpse of the kind of political maneuvering that is necessary in the latter-day Communist system in China, but in this book, the maneuvering seems to be coming closer to jeopardizing Chen's own position. This also strikes me as very true-to-life. Finally, I like that Chen is becoming more and more world-weary; it may seem like a cliched thing for a cop to be, but a cop in Communist China has an even more complicated life than a cop in a big city in the West.