• Death of a Red Heroine

  • Inspector Chen Series, Book 1
  • By: Qiu Xiaolong
  • Narrated by: David Shih
  • Length: 16 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Qiu Xiaolong's Anthony Award-winning debut introduces Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police.

A young "national model worker," renowned for her adherence to the principles of the Communist Party, turns up dead in a Shanghai canal.

As Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Special Cases Bureau struggles to trace the hidden threads of her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided his life since birth. Chen must tiptoe around his superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this crime, and risk his career-perhaps even his life-to see justice done.

©2000 Qiu Xiaolong (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Death of a Red Heroine

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Keep going, it’s worth it

A fine police procedural but full of unusual things since it is in China in 1990. Slow moving, but worth it for the building up of a fine cast of characters, especially our detective Chen. In the mode of P D James who gets a shoutout, Chen is also a published young poet and translator of TS Eliot and Agatha Christie into Chinese. If you know China, it’s catnip—if you don’t, well, what better way to gain insight into another country’s finely tuned mores and deadly politics than an intricate detective novel?

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Murder, politics and poetry

Slow start, but as the story unfolds the mementum builds. The Chief Inspector is a likable character, a poet at heart and also very committed to solving the murder case.
I gained a lot of insight on the culture and values in China.

7 people found this helpful

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interesting insight into Chinese an Chines Culture

The book was a nice peek into Chinese culture and how PRC society functions. The ending had a different version of a plot twist; but nevertheless, it illustrated well how the government twist things to continue it's control over the population. The added literary references an added bonus.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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it was okay

I started with the first in the series The Mysteries of Inspector Chen which I loved.

The narrator was changed so it took me a little longer to get into this one. it almost didn't "feel" like the same Inspector Chen.


I enjoyed it and will start the third one today.

3 people found this helpful

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Very good!

The story keeps your interest until the very end.. But it is also intriguing because of its description of everyday life in the 1990's in Communist China . There is tension between the character's desire to live an honorable life seeking justice and what is "in the best interests of the Party". Also notable in presenting both modern and traditional poetry and descriptions of food.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

worth it for the history

Narrator David Shih is pretty good, but the storyline is far too slow-moving for the first half. I appreciated the picture of Chinese history, along with the subtleties, and terrors, of party politics. Qiu’s perspective is valuable, and I will read more to see if his plots get better, and clearer.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Exhausting

So much for western bourgeois decadence- sex sells
I wouldn’t recommend this book other than a slight glimpse of what is headed down the road for cultural reassignment in the good old us of a

2 people found this helpful

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interesting for cultural context.

the story is nteresting for cultural context. but the investigation itself lacked suspense and intrigue.

1 person found this helpful

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the borderline character as sleuth

This tale is a wonderful hybrid Chinese/American, Detective/Existential, mystery/socio-cultural-historical story. You get six genres in one book! It might've been an overweening mess, but it's superbly crafted revealing a vast cross cultural knowledge. In the ending, DoaRH has a wonderful twist on the conventional whodunnit that excited my critical thinking about cultural differences while never sacrificing plot velocity. A beautiful, insightful book, that I started rereading as soon as I finished it just to see how Mr Qiu did it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Authentic China as told in slow simple story

I would best describe this book as a slow and shallow detective story wrapped with some interesting details about life in China.

The details about China and how the country operates seemed authentic and interesting but the characters and plot never really developed to a point I was pulled into the story.

Could have been 2 hours shorter with very little substance removed.