Author : Elsa Hart
Publisher : St. Martin's Publishing Group
ISBN : 9781466883918
About Jade Dragon Mountain
On the mountainous border of China and Tibet in 1708, a detective must learn what a killer already knows: that empires rise and fall on the strength of the stories they tell.
Li Du was an imperial librarian. Now he is an exile. Arriving in Dayan, the last Chinese town before the Tibetan border, he is surprised to find it teeming with travelers, soldiers, and merchants. All have come for a spectacle unprecedented in this remote province: an eclipse of the sun commanded by the Emperor himself.
When a Jesuit astronomer is found murdered in the home of the local magistrate, blame is hastily placed on Tibetan bandits. But Li Du suspects this was no random killing. Everyone has secrets: the ambitious magistrate, the powerful consort, the bitter servant, the irreproachable secretary, the East India Company merchant, the nervous missionary, and the traveling storyteller who can't keep his own story straight.
Beyond the sloping roofs and festival banners, Li Du can see the mountain pass that will take him out of China forever. He must choose whether to leave, and embrace his exile, or to stay, and investigate a murder that the town of Dayan seems all too willing to forget.
Jade Dragon Mountain Review
This book was recommended by my favourite mystery author, Louise Penny, as one of her favourites, and I thought it was a great read. It's a true mystery, not a thriller, not suspense, but a true mystery, set in 1708 China. Our hero, a one time imperial librarian, but now an exile, turns detective when he arrives in the last city near the border of Tibet in the midst of preparations for an imperial festival celebrating a solar eclipse. The celebrations including the presence of the emperor who is believed to command the eclipse. There's a murder, a Jesuit astronomer, and there are many suspects. The plot is a little twisty turny, plenty enough to keep me turning page after page, enjoying multiple surprises. I had my suspicions about the murderer, but I was never really certain until the reveal. And even then there was more to the story! And, I'm happy to say, the wind-up was quite satisfying to me. The writing is good. I enjoy the way it brought me into the story and created a great sense of atmosphere. And the characters were well rounded and easy to relate to and I really liked the ones I was supposed to like. Enough that I already have the second Li Du book on my wishlist. So... excellent, classic mystery! Thanks for the rec, Mme Penny!
A Caedfael in China. Slowish start, but then, establishing character and setting requires it. Eventually, I suspected everyone except the... No spoilers here. Will read book 2.