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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Jade Dragon Mountain: 18th Century China Mystery and Giveaway

I like historical mysteries, but I'm particularly attracted to historical mysteries that take place in locations that aren't normally utilized, periods that rarely appear in historical mysteries or both.  I've read a great many historical mysteries taking place in Japan, but very few taking place in China.  I also have read no fiction at all set in 18th century China.  So Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart is a rare bird indeed.  This library student was also delighted that Hart's protagonist is a librarian and astonished that this is her first novel.

This review is also a milestone for this blog since it's my first giveaway!  I am giving away a hardcover copy of Jade Dragon Mountain.  All you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment on this review, or tell me what interests you in the book.  You don't have to post your e-mail here if you're uncomfortable with doing that, but I do need to be able to contact you if you win.  So make sure that when I click on your name, I find a profile with an e-mail link.  You can enter this giveaway until November 10th.


It turned out that what I liked best about Jade Dragon Mountain was Hamza the storyteller.  I found him very intriguing.  I still want to know a great deal more about him.  Hamza becomes a friend of the protagonist, Li Du.   He is intelligent but can be enigmatic when he offers advice in the form of a story.

As expected, I also loved the role of libraries in this book.   There is a library in which the books are shelved according to the Chinese constellations.  There is a hidden library that represents the remains of a devastated collection.  There is the Imperial Library in Li Du's past and possibly another library in his future.

The mystery of the murdered Jesuit involves political and economic conflicts. The suspects are numerous.  There are a variety of Chinese and Western interests competing for power and influence. There is also an herbal dimension to the case. I'd never previously heard of a few of the Chinese herbs mentioned.  It was  a suspenseful narrative.  Li Du has a strict time limit for solving the murder. I was continually absorbed by every new plot twist.  The resolution of the case wasn't completely unexpected, but the ending of the book was a total surprise.  I am looking forward to Elsa Hart's next novel.

The giveaway is now over.  Congratulations to the winner, Cassandra!  





  1. Like you I love historical mysteries, in fact I love a lot of historical genres as long as they are well written and very well researched. I find time accurate historicals fascinating and the amount you can learn about various aspects of the past is incredible. I've never read anything about China at this time, which thinking about it is a surprise. I think it has the potential of being an amazing storyline, the sort you can't put down and get lost in where you're desperate to finish because you need to know what happens......... At the same time not wanting to finish and leave the characters and their lives behind.
    Thank you so kuch for the chance to win a copy of what sounds to be a great book, keeping everything crossed I'm lucky enough to win. Good luck to all that enter :-) xxx

  2. Great review, really informative, the book definitely sounds compelling from your review and many others. The description outlines the book as a must read especially for me because of the time period, the 18th century, I just find the time around that era intriguing. Thank your for you kindness in giving away this book, it looks like this book would be an honour to read! My email is:

  3. Historical mysteries make great reads. I have read a couple of books about the Chinese before. This book appears to be one that would be hard to put down for any length of time.
    I wish to thank you for having this giveaway and cross my fingers that I can be one of the winners.
    My email is:

  4. This book looks really cool! I've always been interested in China and history in general. I'm curious what kinds of herbs the book mentions since that's an active passion of mine. Thanks for offering the giveaway!
    My email is