Murder in the forbidden cityMurder in the Forbidden City:
Qing Dynasty Mysteries Book 1

As a book blogger, I receive many offers of books every week. One day, I’ll have to count how many, and the percentage of the select few I accept. It really pays to be picky and to save time for great books. Murder in the Forbidden City sounded so different that I said yes to it.
Imagine: a murder mystery set in Peking Forbidden City in the 19th century! It was all I expected and I’m thrilled to present it to you today, on its release date!

 

We are in 1867. The book opens on the regent empress in tears: Lady Yun, 15, one of her ladies-in-waiting, was just found murdered. Inspector Gong has been called to investigate, but he faces a difficult challenge: as a man, he is not allowed access to the inner court.
A solution could be to ask the help of the victim’s sister-on-law, a former lady-in-waiting herself. But how can Gong, a man, and a Han, manage to convince a woman, a Manchu, for this delicate matter? However, if the killer is still at court, who knows if there won’t be another murder? Time is of the essence.

I thoroughly enjoyed the suspense, the well-designed plot, with the unexpected motive for the murder, as well as the original murder weapon, though totally in keeping with the place and time.

As a historical mystery, the background was superb, with a lot of fascinating information on the Chinese society of the time, its customs, and the place and role of women; the difference of classes between Manchus and Hans; the clash between traditional Confucian and spreading Buddhist principles.
There were also allusions to a past conflict between the Chinese court and the White Devils, the British.
And finally life at court in the Forbidden City, with the role of  ladies-in-waiting, eunuchs, court-ministers, wives, and concubines. And its jealousies, gossip, and bribes!
There were even some unusual details, such as a special recipe for contraception!

I only regret the presence of a few typos, at least in the digital edition, even with a character sometimes called Kwon, sometimes Kwan. But there were just a few isolated cases, and they didn’t prevent me from thoroughly enjoying the book, as well as looking forward to next volume in the series.

VERDICT: Off the beaten track historical mystery! Set in Peking Forbidden City in 1867, it offers a captivating way to discover life and intrigues in the Chinese court.

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Author: Amanda Roberts
Publication: July 11, 2016
by Red Empress Publishing
Pages: 214
ISBN: 978-0997772982
Genre: historical mystery

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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

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