cover image The Fourth
\t\t  Sacrifice

The Fourth \t\t Sacrifice

Peter May, .\t\t . St. Martin's Minotaur, $24.95 (405pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36464-9

May's well-plotted follow-up to his first mystery featuring Beijing \t\t Deputy Section Chief Li Yan and American forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell \t\t (after 2005's The Firemaker) amplifies his \t\t vivid picture of a chaotic, vital modern-day China emerging from the havoc \t\t wrought by the cultural revolution and the Red Guards. A request from the \t\t American ambassador puts Margaret's imminent departure from China on hold when \t\t a series of execution-style decapitations claims a fourth victim, a \t\t Chinese-American employed by the U.S. embassy in Beijing. She and Li join \t\t forces on the difficult investigation, which is shadowed by the romantic \t\t tension of their relationship even as handsome TV archeologist Michael \t\t Zimmerman avidly courts Margaret. May evokes the intense mutual attraction \t\t between Li and Margaret against a fascinating backdrop of the cultural divide \t\t between China and America. (Feb.)