Murder in the Red Chamberby Taku Ashibe
Set in the world of the original Dream of the Red Chamber, the masterwork of eighteenth-century Chinese fiction by Cao Xueqin, this murder mystery plays out Peking during the late Qing dynasty. The author is famed in Japan for not only his tight plotting and brilliant characterizations, but also his skill in adapting famous fictional locales and characters for new works.
The tale opens with the visitation of Jia Yuan-chun, esteemed daughter of the prosperous Jia family and newly instated concubine to the emperor. In preparation for her arrival, the Jias have constructed a magnificent homage in land known as Prospect Garden.
Little do they know what horrors await them.
During an evening gathering, one of the young maidens of the Garden is brutally murdered in plain sight. This spectacle sets off a series of mysterious deaths. Lai Shang-rong, a local magistrate and Chief Inspector in service to the Jias, is specially commissioned to investigate the goings on and get to the root of the evil that has darkened this otherwise idyllic setting.
Bao-yu, however, has designs of his own. As the only male inhabitant of Prospect Garden, and with the pressure of success breathing down his neck as the next in line to the Jia throne, Bao-yu feels obliged to protect those dearest to him and decides to launch a private investigation.
Ashibe's tragic conclusion leaves us with a heavy moral question while presenting even the most seasoned mystery fan with a refreshing and innovative take on the detective novel formula.
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)
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