cover image Mandarin Gate

Mandarin Gate

Eliot Pattison. Minotaur, $25.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-65604-1

Edgar-winner Pattison dramatically portrays the bitter oppression suffered by the Tibetan people under Communist China in his excellent seventh novel featuring Chinese investigator Shan Tao Yun (after 2009’s The Lord of Death). Exiled to Tibet for having pursued the truth too zealously in an investigation that implicated high government officials, Shan now labors as an official ditch inspector. Even as his closest friend, Lokesh, believes that humanity’s failure to be humane heralds the “end of time,” Shan strives to protect the gentle Tibetan natives from victimization by their occupiers. His efforts to save Jamyang, an unregistered (i.e., “outlaw”) monk he befriended, from a bounty hunter, land Shan smack in the middle of a murder inquiry after the mutilated bodies of two unidentified men and one Tibetan nun turn up near an old convent. Shan must exercise his atrophied deductive muscles from his years as an investigator in Beijing to spare the Tibetans reprisals. Pattison movingly delineates the difficulties of seeking justice under a police state in this brilliantly constructed and passionate whodunit. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary. (Nov.)