The Speaker of Mandarin
The twelfth Wexford novel published by Hutchinson in 1983
I had gone aboard and was minded to depart,
When I heard from the shore your song with tap of foot.
The pool of peach blossom is a thousand feet deep.
But not so deep as the love in your farewell to me. 1
Wherever Reg Wexford goes, death and intrigue are close on his heels. Having just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime holiday in China, Wexford finds himself haunted by memories of the woman with bound feet who mysteriously followed him from one city to the next and the man who tragically drowned.
Now, back in England, he finds himself investigating the murder of a fellow tourist. Knowing that the clue to these three mysteries lies in the East, Wexford turns his investigative skills to that place of unfathomable and sinister depths.
Throughout his trip to China, Wexford reads supernatural stories and drinks too much green tea. He even suffers hallucinations like the hero in Sheridan Le Fanu’s famous Green Tea story.
Adapted for TV in 1992.
Relocating the Heart of Darkness in Ruth Rendell by Suzanne Penuel.
Contemporary Reads 2
P.D. James - The Black Tower
Graham Swift - Waterland
Angela Carter - Nights at the Circus
Susan Hill - The Woman In Black
John le Carré - The Little Drummer Girl
Len Deighton - Berlin Game
The quoted poems To Wang Lun by Li Po, Drinking Song by Shen Hsun and Song of a Chaste Wife by Zhang Ji, are taken from the Penguin Book of Chinese Verse. ↩︎
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