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Reviews 73 tion sits comfortably with some recent interpretations of European imperialism. Daniel R. Headrick, for example, has argued along the same lines in his The Tools ofEmpire (1981) and The Tentacles ofProgress (1988). Perhaps the publication ofHsieh Fucheng's diary will help to reinvigorate discussion of a subject that to date has been organized primarily around divisions between "traditional" and "modern" worlds, between civilizations or cultures, and between backward-looking and progressive intellectuals. Perhaps it will also help to encourage the historicization of the post-1911 historiography ofnineteenth -century Qing foreign relations. James L. Hevia North Carolina A&T State University mm Chin Shunshin. Murder in a Peking Studio. Translated by Joshua A. Fogel. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University Center for Asian Studies, 1986. Paperback $10.00. Chin Shunshin (b. 1924) is a Japanese writer who has been recognized as one of the most important modern writers in Japan because his work has blurred the distinction between the so-called taishü bungaku (popular literature) and jun bungaku (pure literature). His work includes historical novels, detective fiction, and essays. Chin provides his readers not only with writing ofbeauty and intelligence , but also with his tremendous knowledge of Chinese and Japanese history. Pekin yüyükan (Murder in a Peking studio) was published in February 1971 (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1971) as one ofthe works in the "Series of New Fiction by Edogawa Rampo Prize Winners." Prior to this novel, Chin's Karegusa no ne (Roots of dry grass) (Edogawa Rampo Prize, 1961), Seigyoku shishi köro (Sapphire lion censer) (Naoki Prize, 1969), Gyokurei yofutatabi (Back to Jade Peak), and Kujaku no michi (Route ofthe peacock) (Japanese MysteryWriters Association Award, 1970) have brought him success and fame in the Japanese literary world. Pekin yüyükan, published after all ofthese achievements, proves to be yet another masterpiece from this author. , TT . The murder in the story of Pekin yüyükan is set in the autumn of 1903, on© 1995 by University' ' ' ofHawaftPresstne eve 0^*e Russo"JaPanese War. The novel itselfcovers an important period of Chinese history. It begins at the end of the Boxer uprising (1900), when an expedition by eight foreign powers invaded China, and ends prior to the beginning of 74 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 the May Fourth Movement (1919). Both historical personages—such as Nuo Tong (Na-t'ung in the translation), Yi-kuang (Prince Ch'ing), and Yuan Shihk 'ai—and fictional characters play complicated and unpredictable roles in the story. The story is told according to three perspectives: the first is that of the narrator of die story, the second that of the Japanese curio dealer, Doi Sakutaro, and the third that ofthe sarcastic detective, Chang Shao-kuang. The first two perspectives give us a portrayal of the external environment in the story, which is integral to an explanation of the inner world of the central characters. Between these two perspectives lies the mystery, discovering how Wen Pao-t'ai, an inscription artist, was killed in his hermetically sealed studio. Wen had just received a large sum of money from the Japanese government. This money was to be used to bribe Prince Ch'ing, who was asked by the Japanese to disrupt Russian army initiatives in China at that time. This was in order to provide the Japanese their justification to start the Russo-Japanese War. To find the clues to the mystery, the reader needs to read through the perspectives of the narrator and Doi with extreme care, without skipping a single word. As the story progresses, and the reader searches for the murderer and tries to surmise the techniques ofthe murder, the reader may easily neglect several significant questions lying behind the mystery: is the murder only for money? Who actually benefits from the profit? What kind ofpersons are the beneficiaries? Part of the truth is obscured in the perspectives of the narrator and Doi, but is finally revealed through that of the detective, near the end of the book. However, all three perspectives are so skillfully woven together that none of them is less important than the others. The reader cannot help but feel shocked by the outcome of the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 73-75
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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