Murder at the Friendship Hotel

Charlotte Epstein, Author Doubleday Books $15 (182p) ISBN 978-0-385-41708-2
Marred by stilted writing, Epstein's newest mystery is swollen by a debate on birth control policies in Asia. Internationally renowned professor Janet Eldine, previously seen in Murder in China , has agreed to set up the English department in a new university in Inner Mongolia. When she arrives in Beijing, she meets two fellow teachers at Yo Yi Ping Guan, the Friendship Hotel. One of these colleagues is instantly smitten with Dr. Ian Chen, a Chinese-American scientist at work on a contraceptive pill for men. Philosophically opposed to him is vitriolic Mary Allen, whose articles against birth control and abortion have attacked Ian's research. Although Mary and Ian claim to be amicable adversaries, fingers point at Ian when Mary is fatally stabbed in her hotel room. Janet's unofficial investigation, however, uncovers a host of other suspects. Descriptions of Beijing, the Chinese countryside and the relationships between Easterners and expatriate Westerners, although the most interesting parts of the book, camouflage neither the large holes in the plot nor the dull repetition of ideologies. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
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