Shanghai 1928 – the body of blonde woman is found dead, washed up on the “Beach of Dead Babies.” The mutilated corpse is marked with the Chinese character for “justice.” It’s with this gruesome and foreboding atmosphere that Death in Shanghai by MJ Lee, and the Inspector Danilov series begins.
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.
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.
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.
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.