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So Fresh and Bloody

Caroline Fraser: Qiu Xiaolong, 18 December 2008

Red Mandarin Dress 
by Qiu Xiaolong.
Sceptre, 310 pp., £7.99, July 2008, 978 0 340 93518 7
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... In 2006 the Wall Street Journal declared Qiu Xiaolong’s first novel, Death of a Red Heroine (2000), one of the top five ‘political novels’ of all time for its indictment of Communism. Many of the crimes in his books have their roots in the repression of the past, but Qiu’s series about Chief Inspector Chen Cao – after Death of a Red Heroine came A Loyal Character Dancer (2002), When Red Is Black (2004), A Case of Two Cities (2006) and now Red Mandarin Dress – is actually less concerned with politics than with the contrast between victims and perpetrators ...

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