A Loyal Character Dancer - Qiu Xiaolong
This book is the next in the series after Death of a Red Heroine and as with the previous book, our protagonist is police inspector Chen, who would much rather be writing poetry or translating detective novels from English. Instead, in A Loyal Character Dancer, Chen is unwillingly saddled with the job of looking after a fellow detective from the US, in China to collect the wife of a man in witness protection. This is not as simple as it first appears, since the wife has apparently vanished and it's unclear whether foul play is involved.

I have to admit I enjoyed this book more than its predecessor, but it's a series of books I really can't see myself continuing. While Qiu's writing is more than competent (as far as can be judged from this translation), and the setting and flavour of China is well-drawn, the supporting characters are somewhat thin. I was also more than a little non-plussed by the idea that a woman who has long enough hair to tie back in a ponytail would be able to wash her hair and be ready to go in five minutes. The series continues in When Red is Black.