A young woman in contemporary Beijing struggles to succeed as a private detective while dealing with family problems.
Though she’s busy with several cases and apparently successful, independent investigator Mei Wang is still plagued by doubts. Her traditional sister Lu continues to criticize her audacity. Her reservations are seconded by Mei’s mother, Ling Bai, who worked faithfully for the Party but never received the recognition or the status she deserved. As Mei accepts the case of a loopy businessman known as “The King of Hair-Growth Serum,” she wistfully recalls her days as a police officer at the Ministry of Public Security. A family reunion only piles on the uncertainty. But when the uninsured Ling Bai is unexpectedly struck with a grave illness, it is the independently employed Mei, shouldering the usual reproaches, who is able to pay the hospital bills. Then the search for a valuable jade seal takes Mei and the reader on a crash tour of China’s bustling capital. The challenging and exciting new case serves to restore her faith in herself and her resolve to continue.
Liang (Lake with No Name, 2004) kicks off her new series by putting the private-eye plot on a back burner to focus on social, family and feminist issues. Not your typical mystery, but written with subtle intelligence and heart.