The Liar’s Dice by Jeannie Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wei-wei is the daughter of an aristocratic family during the Tang Dynasty. Her elder brother, Huang, has recently been promoted to a government position because of his high level of scholarship. He’s married, and his wife is expecting a child any day now. But Huang is behaving strangely, and Wei-wei is determined to find out why.
Disguised as a man, she makes her way into the forbidden part of the city as she follows her brother … and finds a body. The victim has only recently been killed, and the murderer appears to have Wei-wei in his sights as a potential witness. Huang’s brother-in-law, Wu, is the constable … but he doesn’t seem nearly as interested in Wei-wei’s observations as is the mysterious, handsome Gao.
There are two puzzles to be solved: the murder, and Huang’s apparently nefarious activities. The book itself is a fair play puzzle, with all of the information available to the reader.
I particularly enjoyed this book because of its look at both scholarship and women’s roles in 9th C. China. While the novella is not a lengthy read, it’s packed with information and entertainment. Nicely done.
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