Thursday, June 08, 2006


Flower Net, Lisa See, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1997, 333 pp

After reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and also seeing Lisa See in person at a book signing, I got interested in reading more of her books. This is her first novel. It is called a thriller on the cover and is written in a Ken Follett style, though clearly the author is a woman who knows China. The setting is modern Beijing, China and Los Angeles. Assistant US Attorney David Stark and Chinese police detective Ms Liu Hulan are the main characters.

After the son of the US Ambassador to China is found dead by Chinese police, a son of one of China's politically elite families is found dead on a ship from China which is trying to enter Los Angeles illegally. Despite much distrust and animosity, the United States and China join forces to solve these connected and cross cultural crimes.

Stark is sent to Beijing and meets Liu Hulan. What do you know? They have already met years ago in the United States and had a love affair. Now there are three mysteries going: the murders, the unknown reason that Hulan left Stark and the pre-revolutionary past of Hulan's family.

All is revealed and solved very satisfactorily. It is a good story with plenty of danger and suspense plus insights into late 20th century China which were new to me. Worth reading, because Lisa See is the real deal when it comes to things Chinese.

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