cover image The Jade Temptress

The Jade Temptress

Jeannie Lin. HQN, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-77847-8

Lin returns to Tang Dynasty China (setting of The Lotus Palace) for a tale strong in emotional subtlety but weak in suspense and mystery. Renowned courtesan Mingyu may shine like her namesake “bright jade” in the pleasure quarters of the Pingkang li, but when she discovers the gruesomely beheaded body of one of her high-ranking patrons, Constable Wu Kaifeng is immediately suspicious of the icy, self-possessed woman. As the ploddingly slow investigation brings the pair together, Kaifeng can’t help but be entranced by Mingyu. Even though Kaifeng once tortured Mingyu in an attempt to get information out of her, she’s still intrigued by his determined search for the truth. The courtship between the high-class courtesan and the street cop is well drawn and nuanced, but the murder mystery’s abrupt solution undercuts the otherwise satisfying ending. (Feb.)