Qiu Xiaolong Books

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Author Qiu Xiaolong was born in Shanghai, China in the year 1953, and lives in America with his wife and child. He came to America to write a book about an American poet named T.S. Eliot, but was forced to remain in America due to the fact that a paper in China reported on some fund raising that he had done for some students back in China and he would have been persecuted for it by the Communist Party. At one point in the late eighties, he was a guest lecturer at a Missouri University. At another point in his life, he wrote criticisms and did translations in Chinese, and got a Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Washington.

Order of Inspector Chen Series

1Death of a Red Heroine 2000Description / Buy
2A Loyal Character Dancer 2002Description / Buy
3When Red is Black 2004Description / Buy
4A Case of Two Cities 2006Description / Buy
5Red Mandarin Dress 2007Description / Buy
6The Mao Case 2009Description / Buy
7Don't Cry, Tai Lake 2012Description / Buy
8Enigma of China 2013Description / Buy
9Shanghai Redemption 2014Description / Buy
10Hold Your Breath, China 2020Description / Buy

Order of Inspector Chen Collections

1Poems of Inspector Chen (Short Story) 2016Description / Buy
2Inspector Chen and Me 2018Description / Buy

Order of Qiu Xiaolong Short Story Collections

1Lines Around China (Short Story) 2003Description / Buy
2Years of Red Dust 2008Description / Buy
3Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life (Short Story) 2012Description / Buy

Order of Qiu Xiaolong Poetry Collections

1Classic Chinese Love Poems 2003Description / Buy
2Poems of Tang and Song Dynasties 2006Description / Buy

Qiu Xiaolong Anthologies

1 Treasury of Chinese Love Poems2003Description / Buy
2 Evoking Tang2007Description / Buy
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Xiaolong writes poetry, translates literature, and writes crime/ mystery/ thriller novels. He has written the “Detective Chen” series, and this makes up the bulk of his fictional output. Chief Inspector Chen Cao is a cop with integrity and quotes poetry and has a sidekick in his partner Detective Yu. The novels feature modern China as a character itself and captures the atmosphere there; it also has quotes from different poets. The novels seek to show different tensions that are present in the country, and seek to explore different things that just tell a simple whodunit story. The series is set after post-Cultural Revolution China. His books have sold over a million copies around the world, and have been translated into many different languages. He has translated poems by T.S. Eliot into Chinese.


He has won the Anthony for Best First Novel for his novel “Death of a Red Heroine”, the first in the “Detective Chen” series, in the year 2001.


Three novels were adapted into radio dramas for BBC Radio 4. These novels include: “When Red is Black”, “A Loyal Character Dancer”, and “Death of a Red Heroine”.


For those looking to get into Qiu Xiaolong’s work, this next section will help with that. It will look at the novels: “Death of A Red Heroine”, “A Loyal Character Dancer”, and “When Red is Black”.

Death of A Red Heroine: This is the first novel in the “Detective Chen” series that was released in the year 2000. In the afternoon, two friends find a young woman wrapped in a black trash bag in a hard to find canal in Shanghai. The corpse is found to be a national model worker named Guan Hongying (Hongying can be translated into “Red Heroine”) to bring the political aspects properly into place. Chen Cao and his subordinate who is older than him, Yu look into the case. They struggle to catch the killer, who they find out comes from a powerful family that hinders the investigation every step of the way.

A Loyal Character Dancer: This is the second novel in the “Detective Chen” series that was released in the year 2002. Chief Inspector Chen finds a dead body in the park by the Bund with eighteen axe wounds in it, and decides to take the case. He is ordered by his superior officers to escort a member of the United States Marshal service who is named Catherine Rohn, and help her as she investigates the case. A witness’s wife must be found before the witness will talk to them about a human-smuggling investigation. He will only talk if she is with him, but things are complicated for the police because she has gone missing.

When Red is Black: This is the third novel in the “Detective Chen” series that was released in the year 2004. Inspector Chen Cao of the Shanghai Police is going on a vacation, partly because he is annoyed at his boss (Party Secretary Li), and partly because a triad businessman has offered him something that he has accepted. He must translate into English a business proposal for the New World, a group of shops and restaurants. In exchange he can receive a fortune that does not seem to have any strings attached to it. Sergeant Yu has to investigate a crime involving a murdered author who was killed in her room; this is due to Chen not wanting to cut short his holiday. It seems that a neighbor must have done it, but eventually Chen comes back and is able to piece together what happened in the case. He also finds out how the triad businessman was able to play him.

When Does The Next Qiu Xiaolong book come out?

Qiu Xiaolong doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Hold Your Breath, China and was released on June, 2nd 2020. It is the newest book in the Inspector Chen Series.


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