Death of a Red Heroine

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Death of a Red Heroine is a mystery novel written by Qiu Xiaolong and published in English in the year 2000.

Plot summary[edit]

One afternoon, the naked body of a young woman is found wrapped in a black trash bag in an obscure canal in Shanghai by two friends. Upon further investigation, it is found that the corpse is that of Guan Hongying (the name Hongying can be read as Red Heroine), a national model worker - thus bringing the case's political aspects squarely into place. Chief Inspector Chen Cao and his older subordinate Yu investigate the case, eventually tracing the likely murderer as Wu Xiaoming, the only son of Wu Bing, a high-ranking Party cadre.

Having then established Wu as the likely murderer, Chen and Yu must struggle to discover the motive, all the while grappling with political obstructions and power plays as Wu makes use of his family connections to hinder the investigation. Eventually, though, Chen discovers the motive and brings everything to the attention of his superiors.

Literary significance and reception[edit]

Written in English by a Chinese émigré and resident of St. Louis, Missouri, the novel earned praise for first-time author Qiu Xiaolong. It also seeks to do something more than tell a crime story.

"More than to create a suspenseful whodunit, Qiu wrote Red Heroine to explore the old-socialist/new-capitalist tensions that currently are central to his rapidly evolving homeland."[1]


  • Silva, Eddie (2000-06-07). "Chinese Puzzle". River Front Times - St. Louis Arts and Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 


  1. ^ "Chinese Puzzle", p2