Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang

In The Eye of Jade, Mei Wang, a Chinese private detective, is asked to find an artefact, a jade seal known as the Eye of Jade. Being a detective in China is illegal and she must be careful she is not found out. While tackling the mystery, she learns that her mother is dying and her former lover has returned to Beijing. Her job almost becomes secondary before she learns of a long-buried family secret. It is then that the line between her private life and her job blurs.

What a fantastic book! It’s not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill mystery, but I loved it. The well-written and beautifully told story is fast-paced and gripping. The characters were believable, interesting and varied. Mei Wang makes an excellent female private detective. She doesn’t back down from tough situations and faces problems head on. She’s independent, strong-willed and determined to find the jade.

This is the first book I’ve read set in China. Liang, provides plenty of information regarding life in modern day China and at the time of the Cultural Revolution. It’s all very fascinating. It reminded me that I must brush up on my Chinese history. This glimpse into everyday life in China is my favourite part of the book.

The second book in the series, Paper Butterfly, is due to be released May 2008. I can’t wait.

Recommended. I’d love to read more of Liang’s work.

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