I disagree with this book being only 2 stars. I thought it was an excellent murder mystery that keeps you guessing and draws you into the plot. With so many people going to China it was interesting to read about the different cities.
Wow, I can't believe this does not have more stars. I really enjoyed this book. I have read all the red princess mysteries and I love how the author weaves old Chinese culture and traditions in with a modern female detective. I hope there are more because I enjoy the story line of the life of the main character.
Linda K. reviewed Flower Net (Red Princess, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
Loved it. So much fun reading a mystery novel in a setting so different from present day American or Victorian England. The story interweaves between Asian cultures & American politics. Lisa See is an amazing storyteller!
this second book of this author held my attention and i did not figure out the end till the last 25-30 pages. set in China and the US it is a murder mystery and love story. think of all the things you know about China and it is in here. it is fast paced and at times brutal.
I enjoyed this book. Lisa See was a finalist for the Edgar Award for First Mystery with this novel of suspense. The storyline takes place mostly in China, and I found See's insights into the Chinese culture to again be fascinating. As a mystery/thriller, it falls a little short because the romance begins to interfere with the storyline, IMO. Sometimes this book seemed to not know which way to lean. But the plot was good and complex. A good first mystery here.
A terrific mystery-thriller set in modern China. The author includes good background about China and Chinese/U.S. relations. Part of the action takes place in Los Angeles. Lisa See is an excellent storyteller, bringing her tale alive with interesting details and suspenseful plot twists.
After the UN Ambasabor to China's son and an Industrial Tycoon of China's son are found murdered in similar ways but in two different conties, a joint investigation into the murders is permitted. To the lead US investigator David Stark's surprise, the lead Chinese investigator turns out to be his old girlfriend who he has not seen in years. This is a story of mystery, suspense and love as well as horried thing occuring for the good of nations. I enjoyed the look into the country of China and the way things are done in governments. The book is fast paced and a good page turner with many twists along the way.
Definitely worth a read for the information about daily life in China. It makes the impact of the Cultural Revolution real because you can connect it with the character you care about. I also really liked the David-Liu relationship and plan to read more in the series. The mystery itself was so complicated that I gave up trying to guess it and just read for the pleasure of having it explained.
First, the good stuff. Lisa See in her first mystery novel has a good eye for the class struggles inside the Chinese Communist hierarchies, with traditional Chinese cultural mores at the top of the very steep pyramid. Mao-era party cadres rule and dispense wealth and privileges, mostly to their offspring, the Red Princesses and Princes. Liu Hulan, a detective in the Ministry of Public Security, is a Red Princess, her father the Minister, her uncle his deputy. There is plenty of family back-story, before, during, and after the Cultural Revolution. Out of that tumult and choas, Liu Hulan is sent to America to finish school, then she attends college, studies law, has an affair with a young lawyer. Then she flees back to China. "Flower Net" very neatly conveys the tensions and complexities of life on the pyramid of class and privilege, and the iron rules of culture.
The novel starts with two utterly bizarre deaths: the young son of the American Ambassador is frozen in a Beijing lake. The young son of a Chinese billionaire industrialist is found rotting in the water tank of a tramp freighter smuggling Chinese immigrants into America to work in Triad sweat shops.
Red Princess Chief Inspector Liu Hulan catches the case of the dead American. Her former lover, David Stark, now a deputy US attorney, catches the case of the dead Chinese Red Prince, and the immigrant smuggling. Guess what happens. They get to work the cases together, closely watched by their two governments, who are having one of their interminable diplomatic tiffs.
Now, the negative stuff. The whole plot is so full of sub-plots, you feel like See was trying to stuff three novels into "Flower Nets" on top of the mysteries. Hulan and Stark send no reports back to their home offices, so the pyramiding mysteries are all heaped on their (if I can say so, wholly inadequate) shoulders, and they are baffled, outwitted, and out-played right to the end. Others die because these two never act like law enforcement officers. They are too busy having their adventures. See wants us to believe neither government wants them to get to the bottom of these mysteries, but the real reason Hulan and Stark struggle so long is sheer lack of police work and lone ranger-ism. Somehow, the two governments just tag along with this nonsense--deep mysterious forces invisible to us at work.
With a plot this knotty, the characters are literally flying back and forth from China to California. How far up and down the pyramids of power and privilege the criminality extends goes up and down in the book like the jetliners. Lisa See has us and her protagonists at the back end of this complex plot, riding it out in third class confusion, jet-lagged, exhausted, and ready to get off this ultimately uncomfortable ride.
This was so good, I couldn't put it down. I have got to find more books by Lisa See.
"HIGH VOLTAGE SEXUAL SPARKS....MURDER AND INTRIGUE SPLASH ACROSS THE CANVAS OF MODERN CHINESE LIFE....A VIVID PORTRAIT OF A VAST COMMUNIST NATION IN THE PAINFUL THROES OF A SEA CHANGE.
The first body was found in ice: the U.S. ambassador's son, entombed in a frozen lake outside Beijing's Forbidden City.
Thousands of miles away, in the heat-baked hold of a Chinese smuggling ship, another corpse is uncovered, this one a Red Prince, a scion of China's political elite. Suspecting the deaths are linked, the American and Chinese governments pair ambitious attorney David Stark and brilliant detective Liu Hulan to uncover a killer and a conspiracy.
From the teeming streets of Beijing to Los Angeles and back, David and Hulan are caught in a perilous net of politics, organized crime, family loyalties, and their own passion. As, one by one, those close to the investigation are killed, David and Hulan face a firestorm of evil, while the killer they seek is as close as the secrets they keep from each other.