cover image Shanghai Secrets: A Rowland Sinclair Mystery

Shanghai Secrets: A Rowland Sinclair Mystery

Sulari Gentill. Poisoned Pen, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1361-8

Set in 1935, Gentill’s rousing ninth Rowland Sinclair mystery (after 2020’s A Dangerous Language) takes Rowly, on his brother Wilfred’s instructions, to Shanghai for trade talks involving the family wool business. “Just listen and be pleasant. For God’s sake, don’t sign anything,” Wilfred tells him, adding, “Take your unemployed lefty friends with you, if you must.” Thus self-proclaimed poet Milton Isaacs, landscape painter Clyde Watson Jones, and nascent filmmaker Edna Higgins accompany Rowly to the “Paris of the East,” where they rub shoulders with English lawyers, Chinese gangsters, Russian nobility, Japanese businessmen, and Indian taxi drivers. Rowly runs afoul of the police when Alexandra Romanovna, a beautiful Russian dancer, is found with her throat cut in his hotel suite, leaving him with no choice but to investigate. Rowly and his pals soon discover any number of people with motive to murder Alexandra. Eccentric but authentic characters bolster a cracking good plot. Gentill captures in telling detail a political, moral, and cultural milieu. (Jan.)