Exiled Beijing Investigator
Finds New Career as P.I. in Tibet, China
Inspector Shan Tao Yun, hero of seven mysteries in the series of the same name, had been fired from his prestigious job in Beijing and unceremoniously dumped in a prison camp in faraway Tibet when a local official blackmailed him into undertaking a private investigation.
Most highly recommended to all, especially those who like tough-as-nails heroes and verbal kung fu.
Beautiful series! Inspector Shan, a man clawing his way back from a huge reversal of fortune, belongs in the Great Detectives Hall of Fame. These are high-stakes murder mysteries because every investigation puts Shan's life on the line.Shan's world--rural Tibet--astonishes. The landscape is glorious, the personal hardship is searing, the cultural conflict is heartbreaking and the tenacity of the Buddhist monks is inspiring.
Begin at the beginning. The first two books, The Skull Mantra (#1) and Water Touching Stone (#2), are outstanding--anyone who likes reading novels will enjoy them, not just mystery buffs. Water Touching Stone (#2) is one of my favorite books of all time.
Below, the mystery novels in this series listed in chronological order:
Freed from prison to investigate a murder, Shan is expected to deliver the man the authorities want to be guilty. But Shan has other plans... Shan's Tibetan teacher dispatches him to Xianjiang to find the murderer who is killing orphan boys. Shan leads an expedition to a distant valley. When the Tibetan guide is murdered, Shan finds himself caught between an oil company and the Chinese Army. Shan stumbles across evidence of a recent murder in the ruins of a monastery. Soon enough, Chinese officials are involved and threatening to hurt Shan's son unless Shan does their bidding. Shan comes to the rescue when a Navaho father and daughter, seeking ties between their people and Tibet, are threatened with rough justice. Shan witnesses the assassination of a Chinese politician on Mt. Everest and is framed for the murder. Shan protects the witness to a triple-murder that the police are trying to cover-up--and almost loses his life in the process.
In the Shoes of Inspector Shan
Shan has two great skills, hunting criminals and working the Chinese bureaucracy, which he uses to protect a renegade band of Buddhist monks.
Shan is intense! He has fallen from the top of Chinese society to the bottom and has the strength to survive and start over. He's amazing.
So is the Tibet depicted in these books. There's always been a lot of myth, mystery, and mysticism surrounding Tibet (Lost Horizon, etc.) and these books tap into that in a very cool way, contrasting the numinous, gentle, non-violent, and very determined monks with the harsh reality of Chinese occupation.
Inspector Shan Tao Yun was an up-and-coming investigator working for the Beijing government, until the day he discovered evidence dangerous to a powerful government official. The official imprisoned Shan in the Chinese gulag.
Eventually, battered, brutalized and barely breathing, Shan lands in a lao gai camp in Tibet where his fellow prisoners--Buddhist monks--bring him back to some semblance of life. In return, Shan uses his investigator's savvy and his understanding of the Chinese bureaucracy to help the Tibetans however he can.