The White Mirror: A Mystery (Li Du Novels #2) (Paperback)

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This is book number 2 in the Li Du Novels series.

Staff Reviews


Li Du is traveling with a caravan carrying tea from China across the mountain passes in Tibet bound for Lhasa.  Travel is made more arduous by the lateness in the season, winter is coming on and the caravan is exploring a new route.  They expect to be welcomed by the Lord and his family in a sheltered valley.  Hamza, the storyteller, has gone ahead to pave their way with the family.  An early snow storm descends on the region as they near their goal.  Approaching the bridge that will take them across a swirling river to the other side where shelter awaits, they see a monk sitting in the middle of the bridge.  It is soon evident this monk is quite dead, the assumption made that it was suicide.  The snow storm intensifies trapping the little group in the valley along with several other travelers relying on the Lord’s hospitality.  Li Du suspects the monk’s death was inflicted by another.  There are many curious things to make Li Du uneasy.  The monk was a noted painter, demons often featuring prominently in his work.  A priest and his translator, a government official, and a woman traveler are all journeying through the area, snowed in with everyone else.  As the story culminates we learn more about Li Du’s banishment from the Forbidden City, home to the Emperor of China.  The 1700’s were a fascinating period, and Li Du is a very likeable sleuth.  This series is truly enjoyable.

— Deon Stonehouse

Li Du is traveling with a caravan carrying tea from China across the mountain passes in Tibet bound for Lhasa.  Travel is made more arduous by the lateness in the season, winter is coming on and the caravan is exploring a new route.  They expect to be welcomed by the Lord and his family in a sheltered valley.  Hamza, the storyteller, has gone ahead to pave their way with the family.  An early snow storm descends on the region as they near their goal.  Approaching the bridge that will take them across a swirling river to the other side where shelter awaits, they see a monk sitting in the middle of the bridge.  It is soon evident this monk is quite dead, the assumption made that it was suicide.  The snow storm intensifies trapping the little group in the valley along with several other travelers relying on the Lord’s hospitality.  Li Du suspects the monk’s death was inflicted by another.  There are many curious things to make Li Du uneasy.  The monk was a noted painter, demons often featuring prominently in his work.  A priest and his translator, a government official, and a woman traveler are all journeying through the area, snowed in with everyone else.  As the story culminates we learn more about Li Du’s banishment from the Forbidden City, home to the Emperor of China.  The 1700’s were a fascinating period, and Li Du is a very likeable sleuth.  This series is truly enjoyable.

— Deon Stonehouse

Description


In The White Mirror, the follow-up to Elsa Hart’s critically acclaimed debut, Jade Dragon Mountain, Li Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of a wooden bridge, a monk sits in contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a strange symbol painted on his chest.

When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. The dead monk, Li Du soon learns, was a reclusive painter. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world. But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord’s heir sleep in the barn like a servant? And who is the mysterious woman traveling through the mountain wilds?

Trapped in the snow, surrounded by secrets and an unexplained grief that haunts the manor, Li Du cannot distract himself from memories he’s tried to leave behind. As he discovers irrefutable evidence of the painter’s murder and pieces together the dark circumstances of his death, Li Du must face the reason he will not go home and, ultimately, the reason why he must.

About the Author


Elsa Hart is the author of several acclaimed mystery novels set in eighteenth-century China, including City of Ink, one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2018.

She was born in Rome, but her earliest memories are of Moscow, where her family lived until 1991. Since then she has lived in the Czech Republic, the U.S.A., and China. She earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

Praise For…


Praise for Jade Dragon Mountain:

“[A] measured, intelligent, first-class debut…The book augurs a brilliant career for Hart: the careful characterization, the beautifully detailed research (minced yak tongue, anyone?), and an innate feel for the enigmatic meanings of murder.”—USA Today

“First-time novelist Elsa Hart recreates the world of 18th-century China with assurance and skill.”—The Wall Street Journal

“This debut historical mystery deftly combines ingenious plotting and suspense with a subtle understanding of China, its culture, and its people. The protagonist, Li Du, a librarian and intellectual, is well worth keeping an eye on.”—Donna Leon

Jade Dragon Mountain delivers a compelling look at Chinese politics, culture and religion, delivering the complexities of each with a character-rich story…One of the year's most engrossing debuts.”—Associated Press

“Part mystery, part exploration of a culture fading into history's shadows, Hart's novel is a fascinating, intelligent debut…Think Agatha Christie writing Shogun…Captivating.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Elsa Hart's debut novel demands attention. Elegantly written, tightly controlled, and sweeping, Jade Dragon Mountain will leave its readers thinking as much about the nature of storytelling and memory as the vivid recreation of a poignant period in the history of China.”—Matthew Pearl

“Political and religious intrigue drives Hart’s compelling debut set in 18th-century China…Hart’s sure command of historical complexities, conflicts between cultures, and plot twists leads to a satisfying conclusion.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250074973
ISBN-10: 1250074975
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 18th, 2017
Pages: 320
Language: English
Series: Li Du Novels