Meandering Em's

Passion is books, photography, running and traveling. Also passionate about environmental issues.

Mystery in China

Don't Cry, Tai Lake - Qiu Xiaolong

Inspector Chen is a chief inspector in Shanghai who has been given a week's vacation in Wuxi, a neighboring city. He is a rising star in the Chinese government although he has ruffled feathers with Internal Security. He meets a young woman, Shanshan, and hears about a murder on his first day of vacation. These two events become related when Chen discovers that the girl and her former boyfriend are under suspicion for the murder. Why are these two suspected?


China has a terrible pollution problem which the government is ignoring in order to maintain economic growth. Their waterways are so polluted that the citizens can't even touch the water. Pure drinking water is scarce and all the fish eaten are full of contaminants. All this can be verified with doing only a limited search on Bing.


The author has taken this serious environmental issue in China and made it a crucial part of the mystery. The girl and her friend are trying to get companies and corporations to stop polluting. The leaders of these companies ignore the issue because they know their profits will decline if any safeguards are implemented. The Chinese government gives lip service to environmental issues, but they reward economic growth. So what would a greedy industrialist do? Look at America and you know.


When a leading business is killed, the government thinks this would be an excellent time to "solve" a murder and get rid of a perceived threat. The officials from Internal Security pin the murder on Jiang, Shanshan's friend. Detective Chen has to find a way to solve the murder while in an unofficial role.


Even though the environmental problems in the USA are no longer as terrible as they were in the 1960's, the environmental progress has slowed and is actually in decline. The reason is that the Republican party, who gets much of their wealth from corporations, want no regulations. To them, money is more important than the health of their citizens. Neither China or the US look at the true cost of environmental degradation, including medical costs associated with pollution, fracking, etc. While reading this book, I realized that there is very little difference between the objectives of the Chinese or American governments. The citizens of each country have little say compared to business and corporations.


This was a fantastic book written by a Chinese national who currently lives in the United States. The author is a poet and this book in interspersed with his poetry about the destruction of Tai Lake in Wuxi, China.

Currently reading

The Waiting Years
Fumiko Enchi
Progress: 94/208 pages
Project Puffin: The Improbable Quest to Bring a Beloved Seabird Back to Egg Rock
Derrick Z. Jackson, Stephen W. Kress
Progress: 33/376 pages