A writer with deep ties to the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution has been murdered. Towards this writer's later years, she had turned 'dissident' by government's standards. An enormously likable detective Yu must solve the case. Yu embodies the dilemma many Chinese must face in their shape-shifting economy. He plays by Party rules yet watches with bewilderment and resignation friends get rich.
This book gives you a fantastic glimpse, not just into the big picture changes China is experiencing but also into the lives of everyday folk. There are fantastic descriptions of the street vendors, the local restaurants and the shikumen - the ancient traditional housing structure turned communal residence.