Step by perilous step, Inspector Shan gets tangled in another complex and sensitive investigation.
Exiled Beijing Investigator Shan Tao Yun treks slowly along forbidding Mount Everest, fulfilling his promise to female diviner Ama Apte to transport a corpse. Comically officious Constable Jin, a native Tibetan now fervently Chinese, attempts to arrest Shan, who’s spent time in a Tibetan slave-labor camp for murder, until Shan shows him how long the corpse has been a corpse. The complex tensions since the Chinese have taken over Tibet continue to play out when, after his encounter with Jin, Shan spies the aftermath of a bus accident on a road below: A score of Tibetan monks on their way to detention camps are suddenly free. Nearby, Shan finds a blond woman dying of a gunshot wound who whispers her last words to him in English: “The raven.” Her apparent companion was a Chinese woman, already dead. Native curiosity prompts the veteran detective to unravel this mystery, and more urgent reasons raise the stakes: his reputation, recompense for the aborted mission and, most important, leverage with the Chinese officials who have recently imprisoned Shan’s son, Shan Ko. Beginning with local Party member and VIP Tsipon and wise Ama Apte, he makes his appeal.
A whodunit wrapped in a socio-political thriller, all the more valuable for its timeliness. Shan’s sixth case (Prayer of the Dragon, 2007, etc.) is aimed at readers who savor subtlety and complexity.