As previously mentioned, I love San Francisco, noir, and the 1920s. Speakeasies, gangsters, and flappers – these might be clichés of the era but they’re what I love best about it. Wherever they appear, I’ll spend my money. Artist and writer Dan Cooney must have read my mind and created the Tommy Gun Dolls, a new graphic novel trilogy.
1932 was an important year in Sino-Japanese relations. In March, the puppet state of Manchukuo was proclaimed, manufactured out of the conquered northeast region of Manchuria. It was also a momentous year for Shanghai when the city became a battleground. It’s on the verge of the undeclared war that we regroup with Inspector Danilov and Detective-Sergeant Strachan in The Killing Time, the fourth book in this series by MJ Lee.
January 1937. On a bitterly cold night, the body of a young Englishwoman is found underneath the Fox Tower in eastern Peking. The murdered girl is Pamela Werner, the daughter of a retired British diplomat and her killer vanished into the darkness. Midnight in Peking by Paul French is the definitive account of this forgotten girl’s murder.
Like Weimar Berlin, Shanghai in the 1920s and 30s has always held a unique appeal for me. It’s got everything: bloodthirsty gangsters, seedy prostitutes, glamorous nightclubs, spies, political intrigue, and a cosmopolitan feel that makes Berlin look like Oklahoma.
It was love at first site. The image of a running man, superimposed over the Golden Gate Bridge, his head slightly turned to look behind him for danger. With a cover like that, I knew I was going to like Japantown by Barry Lancet. Anyone who knows me knows I love thrillers, and stories set in Japan and San Francisco. Imagine my joy when I learned this book is all three.
Goodbye Chairman Mao by Christopher New deals with one of the most fascinating and least known events of modern times; the Lin Piao Incident. For those of you unfamiliar, in September 1971, Mao Tse-tung’s successor, Marshal Lin Piao fled China in route to the Soviet Union but never made it any farther than Mongolia. His plane crashed landed, killing him and everyone on board.