cover image Jade Dragon Mountain

Jade Dragon Mountain

Elsa Hart, read by David Shih. Macmillan Audio, , unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-6454-1

Actor Shih adds little excitement and emotional resonance in his reading of Hart’s debut mystery set on the border of China and Tibet in 1708. The voices of the main characters—the librarian cum detective, the ambitious magistrate, the imaginative storyteller, the scholarly Jesuit, the evil British merchant—are often indistinguishable, and the several gravelly-voiced elderly village men, who provide comic relief and historic details, sound alike and sometimes over-the-top. Chinese history is sometimes stuck into the narrative in too-big chunks, but Hart’s clever plot contains enough twists and turns to hook listeners, and Detective Li Du is an engaging character likely to return in sequels—even though the audio edition adds little enjoyment to the book. A Minotaur hardcover. (Sept.)