cover image Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder

Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder

Xiaolong Qiu. Severn, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5071-3

Qiu’s stellar 12th mystery featuring Insp. Chen Cao (after Becoming Inspector Chen) finds Chen, an honest cop, reassigned to the newly created Shanghai Judicial System Reform Office due to his zeal in following the evidence, even if it implicates influential Communist Party members. With no real work, Chen’s intrigued by an offer from a former colleague who heads a PI firm, which has been hired to exonerate a murder suspect, Min Lihua. Min, a chef and courtesan, operates a private kitchen that serves gourmet meals in a private home to selected guests with sufficient wealth and influence. Min’s assistant chef, Qing, who was about to leave for another job, was found bludgeoned to death in Min’s home following a private dinner, and Min’s been charged with Qing’s murder. Chen agrees to look into the case unofficially, finding unexpected help from his enterprising secretary, Jin. Qiu artfully creates parallels to a famous murder case from the Tang Dynasty. Newcomers and fans alike will look forward to how Qiu raises the stakes for Chen in the next book. (Oct.)