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Chinese Whispers

A Li Yan and Margaret Campbell Mystery by Peter May

Chinese Whispers by Peter May

Review: Is the ghost of Jack the Ripper stalking the young women on the streets of Beijing? Or is it the work of an earthly, demented mind? Peter May has written yet another page turner, Chinese Whispers, which is the sixth in his China Thriller Series. Note, The Runner is the fifth book in this series, but is not slated for release by Poisoned Pen Press until February of 2010.

Set in Beijing, China, we learn that Dr. Margaret Campbell and Li Yan are now the parents of an infant son, Li Jon. Margaret has gone from the cutting edge of being the Chief Medical Examiner of the third largest county in the United States to a frustrated, full-time stay at home mom. She is unable to perform autopsies since she is an American on Chinese soil. Her partner Li is now Section One Chief of Criminal Investigation in the Beijing Police Department. A "Jack the Ripper" copycat killer is on the loose, and Li must catch the Beijing Ripper before another innocent young woman dies. His only clue is the butt of a cheroot, left at the scene of each crime.

Professor Pan, an American, is the next victim, or so they think. The autopsy is done by Dr. Campbell, and the DNA found on the cheroot does not match the DNA found the cheroots left at the previous scenes. Then, his son Li Jon is briefly kidnapped, but found unharmed with a note from the Ripper addressed to Li. Li starts to feel that the Beijing Ripper has a personal vendetta against him. He also begins to suspect that someone in the police department is the killer, but he is fired from his job before he can finish his investigation. Who can Li trust? Will Li be able to catch the Beijing Ripper and save more women without the resources of the Beijing Police Department?

Chinese Whispers was a riveting mystery; it kept me in suspense until the end. This story focused on Li Yan and his role in the investigation while Dr. Campbell had less importance in the story. Her relegation to the background is just a metaphor for the frustration Margaret feels about her current role and purpose in life as a mother to Li Jon. However, she is called upon to do the autopsy of Dr. Pan, because both are American citizens. Margaret is also instrumental in helping Li catch the Ripper. I would give this mystery a 4½ out of 5 stars. My only complaint is that Margaret did not have more of a key role in the novel. I also recommend that you wait to read The Runner first, before reading Chinese Whispers.

Special thanks to Ruth Miller for contributing her review of Chinese Whispers.

Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Chinese Whispers for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Ruth Miller — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Snakehead by Peter MaySnakehead
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), February 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586068; ISBN-10: 1590586069

Mystery Book Review: Virtually Dead by Peter MayVirtually Dead
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), January 2010
ISBN-13: 9781590586709; ISBN-10: 1590586700

Location(s) referenced in Chinese Whispers: Beijing, China

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Chinese Whispers by Peter May

Chinese Whispers by A Li Yan and Margaret Campbell Mystery

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-608-2
Publication Date:
List Price: $24.95

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