Celebrated Author meets Sha Li

Qiu Xiaolong, author of bestseller Inspector Chen series.

It was at the Starbucks in Palo Alto in October of last year where Professor Qiu was waiting for Sha Li, sitting near the windows, reading a folded newspaper.  Although he lives in St. Louis, Missouri, he happened to be visiting his daughter, a venture capitalist, in the Bay Area at the same time I was traveling south.  "It was kismet that we would meet this way over a cup of coffee with a chilly breeze rustling the eucalyptus trees on the El Camino Real," says Sha Li.

Qiu spells his name in the traditional way with the family name first and the given name second.  He was in the United States at Washington University in St. Louis in 1988 when the Tian’anmen Square protests erupted and he was fearful of returning at that time.  He remained at Washington University, teaching creative writing and translation.  In 2001, his book Death of a Red Heroine won the Anthony Award for best first novel, launching him into the Inspector Chen series about Chief Inspector Chen Cao, a poetry-quoting cop with integrity set in the 1990s.  Qiu’s books are available widely including Amazon.com.

Sha Li and Qiu exchanged their favorite authors, Tsao Hsueh-chin author of the Dream of the Red Chamber, Ding Ling author of The Sun Shines over the Sanggan River, and Gao Xingjian author of Soul Mountain

Prof. Qiu handed an autographed copy of his 2012 book Don’t Cry Tai Lake, about graft, murder and mystery at an exclusive spa near the polluted lake of ancient fame, to Sha Li before taking selfies outside in the drizzly sunshine of late October on the Peninsula.

Qiu Xiaolong says about An American in Beijing series, “A page-turner with its suspense enhanced from the author’s authentic experience in Beijing in convincingly vivid details, and from the combined perspective of her being both an insider and outsider while struggling through the omnipresent cobweb there.  This book not to be missed for readers interested in mysteries in China.” 


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Dunsmuir ArtWalk at Rostel Pusher building on Sacramento Avenue of the Arts. The original Rostel Building was built around 1894 featuring pressed sheet metal and cast iron elements in the Beaux Arts style.

Dunsmuir ArtWalk at Rostel-Pusher Building on Sacramento Avenue of the Arts.

The original Rostel Building was built around 1894 featuring pressed sheet metal and cast iron elements in the Beaux Arts style.

Recent works by artist Cheryl Petty hung on the brick walls of the historic building.  The first piece, leaning against a bench outside the main door, is ‘Time differential or U R Here’ from the Vortex Art series.  ‘Solstice’ the drawing and ‘Solstice’ the painting reflect Petty’s fascination with Surrealism in general and Max Ernst in particular.  Verging on themes in her literary works, political satire spoofs with ‘Moon over the Sea at Wright’s Beach with Shahab-3B Missile’ and ‘Moon over the Zagros Mountains with Clock.’

Buy  Wounds of Attraction  at  Amazon.com

Buy Wounds of Attraction at Amazon.com

Chapter 1 p87

In the early morning, Mai wakes and lays still, listening to the diesels and watching the curtains blow in the dark beyond, sometimes punctuated by misty lights in the far distance.  Ropes slap.  She feels the gentle—bump—as they snug up against other ships.  Seeing a movement, she sits up, “Hey!”  DONG freezes, then leaps toward the open balcony, tripping over an open bag on the floor.  Ron wakes from deep sleep and dives at the dark figure, grasping DONG’s thighs.  Mai hears a loud splash.  Standing in a pool of blood on the narrow balcony, she hangs onto the flimsy railing.  Looking into the dark canyon between their cabin and the next ship and screams his name, “Ron!  Ron!”

Second in the series An American in Beijing, 'Wounds of Attachment' ratchets up the stakes on Mai Martin, an American woman working in Beijing. This political thriller twists loss and power, smuggling and vengeance, and the forces of sovereign nations with individual integrity. Who is watching for her and follows to the train station?