The government bans private detectives in China, so Mei Wang has registered her detective agency as an “information consultancy.” But she is every bit the private eye as Miss Marple or Kinsey Millhone, and the first female detective in China. The Eye of Jade, is a book that spends plenty of time building the details of the main character. The mystery of the story almost takes second place to getting to know Mei Wang and her Beijing as she begins her new career as private detective.
I quite enjoyed this immersion into modern Chinese life and culture, and after having watched the Olympics coverage on TV a few weeks ago, I particularly enjoyed author Diane Wei Liang’s descriptions of Beijing. The mystery of the story was entertaining, but what I really enjoyed about the book was getting to know Mei Wang and her family. I believe the author wrote this book as the beginning of a new series and gave herself permission to focus mostly on introducing us to her sleuth. I hope that’s the case, because by the end of the book, I really liked and felt I knew well, detective Mei Wang.
I actually listened to the audiobook version of this book, and also checked the book out of the library. I loved listening to the Chinese pronunciation of the names and places, and it added a great deal of depth and understanding to my reading of the book. I look forward to more books about Mei Wang.
Enjoyable mystery, and another book read for Carl V’s R.I.P. III Challenge.