Inspector Chen by Qiu Xiaolong
Inspector Chen is the protagonist in a series of crime thriller/mystery novels by Chinese author Qiu Xiaolong. Inspector Chen Chao is a cop with a great sense of integrity. He also loves to quote poetry. Although Inspector Chen is the main character, the series is not about one character, but about China as a whole. The books include topics such as poetry, philosophy, Chinese cuisine, architecture, history, politics, herbalism and of course, police procedure.

Qiu Xiaolong introduced his Inspector Chen character in 2000 with the Anthony Award-winning novel Death of a Red Heroine. The series is currently ongoing. Below is a list of Qiu Xiaolong’s Inspector Chen books in order of when they were originally published (which is the same as their chronological order):

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Publication Order of Inspector Chen Books

Death of a Red Heroine(2000)Description / Buy at
A Loyal Character Dancer(2002)Description / Buy at
When Red is Black(2004)Description / Buy at
A Case of Two Cities(2006)Description / Buy at
Red Mandarin Dress(2007)Description / Buy at
The Mao Case(2009)Description / Buy at
Don't Cry, Tai Lake(2012)Description / Buy at
Enigma of China(2013)Description / Buy at
Shanghai Redemption(2014)Description / Buy at
Hold Your Breath, China(2020)Description / Buy at
Becoming Inspector Chen(2021)Description / Buy at
Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder(2021)Description / Buy at
Love and Murder in the Time of Covid(2023)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Inspector Chen Collections

Poems of Inspector Chen(2016)Description / Buy at
Inspector Chen and Me(2018)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of A Judge Dee Investigation Books

The Shadow of the Empire(2022)Description / Buy at

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Inspector Chen Synopsis: Death of a Red Heroine is the first novel by Qiu Xiaolong and the first in the Inspector Chen series. The body of a a young woman is found by two friends in a Shanghai canal by two friends. She is inside a black garbage bag and naked. She is identified as a national model worker, well-known for following the rules of the Communist Party. As Inspector Chen Cao digs into her past, he finds himself challenging the very political forces that have guided him for his entire life. Chen must go behind the backs of his own superiors if he wants to get to the bottom of this murder, and will have to risk his career and maybe even his life in order to see justice done.

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