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Minotaur Books

City of Ink : A Mystery

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City of Ink
Author(s): Elsa Hart

“Elsa Hart and her protagonist, Li Du, deserve a place in every collection.” —Louise Penny

Following the enthralling 18th century Chinese mysteries Jade Dragon Mountain and White Mirror, comes the next Li Du adventure in City of Ink.

Li Du was prepared to travel anywhere in the world except for one place: home. But to unravel the mystery that surrounds his mentor’s execution, that’s exactly where he must go.

Plunged into the painful memories and teeming streets of Beijing, Li Du obtains a humble clerkship that offers anonymity and access to the records he needs. He is beginning to make progress when his search for answers buried in the past is interrupted by murder in the present.

The wife of a local factory owner is found dead, along with a man who appears to have been her lover, and the most likely suspect is the husband. But what Li Du’s superiors at the North Borough Office are willing to accept as a crime of passion strikes Li Du as something more calculated. As past and present intertwine, Li Du’s investigations reveal that many of Beijing’s residents — foreign and Chinese, artisan and official, scholar and soldier — have secrets they would kill to protect.

When the threats begin, Li Du must decide how much he is willing to sacrifice to discover the truth in a city bent on concealing it, a city where the stroke of a brush on paper can alter the past, change the future, prolong a life, or end one.


One of Publishers Weekly’s Best Mysteries of the Year

“This entry solidifies her status as a top-notch historical mystery author.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Richly detailed novel of life and crime in 18th century China.” —The Wall Street Journal

“The plot increases in complexity with every chapter.” —The Washington Post

Long-listed Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year (2018)

ISBN:  9781250209320