Shanghai, 1990. After the events of the Ti amen square. China is on going a transformation, a slow but steady turn towards capitalism. Inspector Chen is one of the young but not young people that are rising thru the hierarchy faster than ever. Qiu Xiaolong takes us inside the city, inside the lives of the people of Shanghai. He loves his city, it shows. He creates a story where the mystery is interesting but not the main object of the novel. The lives of the people, their relationships, friendships, despairs are the main event. The characters are written with a sharp edge, with a minimum of details but we "see" them going on their business, trying not to trip political mines, stay safe and in the end still be able to look themselves in mirror. I liked the style, the care the author took to make me love his city, the people and to make me understand a little bit of the history of modern China through a solid work of fiction.