Book Review: Zhou Haohui ~ Death Notice (Translator Zac Haluza) (2014)

Waterstones dreaded ‘Buy one, get one half price’ has led me- greedily- to buy absolute lemons in the past. On this occasion I wasn’t disappointed. In fact I was delighted.

Zhou’s novel is set in Chengdu. This is an enormous city of about 11 million people and, no, I wouldn’t have been able to locate it on a blank map of China either. (But then British Detective Inspector novels set in Brighton, Oxford and Edinburgh might defeat Chinese readers.) An exotic location but is it worth reading. Unequivocally yes.

Death Notice has a wonderful premise. The murderer taunts the Chengdu police by announcing not only who is going to be murdered but when and why. Notwithstanding their finest efforts the murders are committed and the perpetrator is undetected. There’s more. The murders are committed because the authorities have failed to bring the victim to justice. All the victims are criminals. The perpetrator uses the nom de plume Eumenides.1

Needless to relate the plot is ultra ingenious and is written in a compelling way. Death Notice ends with a sequel very much in mind. And I’m looking forward to it.

1 More information at http://ancient-literature.com/greece_aeschylus_eumenides.html

 

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