Shanghai Story by the great Alexa Kang is a historical epic in the vein of such classics as The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Whereas those books concentrated on the well-represented European Theater of World War II, Kang’s trilogy will focus on the lesser-known Sino-Japanese War.
In modern-day Tokyo, an American businessman meets a grisly end underneath an oncoming subway train. But it was no accident. He was pushed, and furthermore, we know who did it. Michiko Suzuki, a seriously damaged young woman, is the murderer, but why did she do it? So begins The Last Train by Michael Pronko.
Calcutta, 1919 – In the sweltering Indian heat, a British civil servant is found brutally murdered with a note shoved in his mouth. The note is a warning to the British – quit India or else. Thus begins A Rising Man, a historical murder mystery and the first in the Sam Wyndham series by Abir Mukherjee.
Sex Slaves of the Dragon Tong. With a title as lurid as that, how can you not be interested?
Tokyo Black by Andrew Warren has everything that thriller readers like. A burned ex-CIA operative hiding out in exile. High-stakes geopolitical tension. A gang of villains ready to kill anyone to bring out their plans. And most importantly, lots of action.
Edogawa Ranpo has become synonymous with Japanese horror and mystery fiction. Using a pen name based off of Edgar Allen Poe, (try saying it three times fast), the author Taro Hirai wrote many short stories and novels as Edogawa Ranpo (sometimes Romanized as Rampo). Like his namesake, Ranpo wrote mostly horror and mystery stories, basically introducing the genres into Japanese literature. While Ranpo has a plethora of material to choose from, here are my recommendations on where to start with his writing and films based off his work.
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.