May 8th, 2004


Qiu Xiaolong, A Loyal Character Dancer

Catching upon the books I read in the last couple of weeks. Yes, I've actually been doing something while I've been avoiding social contact. This books is a sequal to Death of a Red Heroine. Inspector Chen Cao this time is assigned to run an investigation into the disappearance of the wife of a witness in the trial of smugglers of Chinese into America. He's in witness protection in the U.S. She was supposed to emigrate there where they would both go into the Witness Protection Program. Except that she received a phone call from him and disappeared. Now the local smuggling gangs are after her. And so is Chief Inspector Chen.

The uniquely Chinese twist to this is that Inspector Chen is not allowed to actually investigate. He must delegate that to subordinates. Instead he has to escort the U.S. Marshal Catherine Rohn who has come to Shanghai to accompany Wen Lipeng (the missing woman) back to the U.S. And his explicit direction is to treat her to the best that Shanghai and China have to offer while avoiding the seedier side. And the other twist is that it becomes increasingly apparent during the investigation that Wen and her husband did not get along and that she doesn't want to rejoin him in the U.S.

I think this was another excellent story. Meatier than your typical mystery because you get to see a slice of Chinese life under Deng Xiaoping. But if that sort of thing doesn't interest you and you don't generally like mysteries, then this isn't for you. Because the mystery part of it is very typical. Nothing on that end really sticks out.


Michael P. Kube-McDowell, Enigma

Decided to re-read this series for the first time in over 10 years after re-reading the first book a couple of weeks ago. The second book,Enigma is about Merritt Thackery, who is the key player in second contact with 2 lost human colonies. Only at the second one he finds out about the D'Shanna, a race that more or less destroyed the world. Thus he begins what seems like a mad journey to discover the D'Shanna, ravager of worlds. Few believe him.

This one didn't hold up as well the second time around. Still decent though.


Bicycle riding today

Going out riding with Kim today. Really looking forward to this, for a number of reasons.

Attending a birthday party for Kim tonight. Different Kim, though they remind me of each other.

Trying to master Microsoft Project. My guess is it does everything I want it to do, but it's documentation and user interface are a pain in the ass. Going to see if I canfind a good book on the software today.

More books will be forthcoming.

My spacebar don't work right.