The White Mirror

The White Mirror

Book - 2016
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"In the follow-up to Elsa Hart's critically acclaimed debut, Jade Dragon Mountain, Li Du, an imperial librarian and former exile in 18th century China, is now an independent traveler. He is journeying with a trade caravan bound for Lhasa when a detour brings them to a valley hidden between mountain passes. On the icy planks of a wooden bridge, a monk sits in contemplation. Closer inspection reveals that the monk is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted wound. His robes are rent, revealing a strange symbol painted on his chest. When the rain turns to snow, the caravan is forced to seek hospitality from the local lord while they wait for the storm to pass. The dead monk, Li Du soon learns, was a reclusive painter. According to the family, his bizarre suicide is not surprising, given his obsession with the demon world. But Li Du is convinced that all is not as it seems. Why did the caravan leader detour to this particular valley? Why does the lord's heir sleep in the barn like a servant? And who is the mysterious woman traveling through the mountain wilds? Trapped in the snow, surrounded by secrets and an unexplained grief that haunts the manor, Li Du cannot distract himself from memories he's tried to leave behind. As he discovers irrefutable evidence of the painter's murder and pieces together the dark circumstances of his death, Li Du must face the reason he will not go home and, ultimately, the reason why he must"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : Minotaur Books, 2016.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250074966
Branch Call Number: FIC Hart
Characteristics: 310 pages ; 25 cm.


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Jul 05, 2017

Very good mystery! I like the main character, Li Du, and find his career as an Imperial Librarian fascinating. Hart's writing is very good with interesting characters, including Li Du's side kick! I found "White Mirror" almost as intriguing as her first novel, "Jade Dragon Mountain". Look forward to more of Li Du's travels.

May 20, 2017

This is an excellent book.I almost did not read it, thinking from the first few pages it was going to be dull and laden with boring descriptions of China. I am so glad I continued on. It is not boring,the pace is fast enough and I didnt realize it was a sequel of another book. You do not have to have read the authors first book to enjoy this one. But I am looking forward to the next installment in the adventures of Li Du. This could easily be turned into a movie. I hope it is.

Apr 16, 2017

A fast, enjoyable read - a leisurely mystery enriched by character and setting details.

Apr 08, 2017

This is the perfect novel for those who like mystery, history and different cultures. And for those who are tired of the heavy psychological angst of the modern mystery genre. I loved it!

Apr 04, 2017

Another intriguing read by Elsa Hart. This is the second book about Li Du, an exiled librarian from the imperial court of China. The story takes place in the early 18th century and follows the story developed in her first book. Li Du seeks to be a simple traveler but his quest for the truth behind the death of a monk in a high valley between mountain passes on the China/Tibet border leads him into the politics of both and spy networks of both China and Tibet. Hamza, the storyteller, is once again in this book and we see the friendship and trust between him and Li Du deepen. A well told tale set in a place and time that adds great interest to the plot.

Jan 30, 2017

Enjoyed this sequel as much as JADE DRAGON MOUNTAIN. Setting is fabulous; even minor characters are fully three-dimensional; and the plot was outstanding. The reveal comes a little early, but Hart then sets us up for Li Du's next adventure - facing his past in the Forbidden City. I can't ask for more from a historical mystery.

Nov 26, 2016

The White Mirror is a sequel to Jade Dragon Mountain, both in terms of plot and and in terms of quality. As with Hart’s previous book, it took me a few chapters to warm up to her prose. The writing seemed plain and choppy at first, but as I was drawn into the story I came to appreciate her simple and elegant style for what it was.

The White Mirror is a classic mystery in terms of plot and characters. Li Du, the exiled Imperial librarian, again puts his keen mind to solving a murder mystery. This time it’s a murdered monk, marked with a strange symbol and arranged to look like a suicide.

Like Jade Dragon Mountain, The White Mirror uses the turbulent time period of 18th century China to provide a fascinating and complicated political backdrop for Li Du’s adventures. With our detective librarian traveling the road between China and Tibet, there are all kinds of dangerous intrigues weaving their webs around Li Du and his friends.

I loved the claustrophobic quality of the late autumn setting, a small rural village stranded between snowed-in mountain passes. I almost wish that I’d waited until it was winter to read this- Elsa Hart does a great job of building up the lonely, isolated atmosphere.

My only complaint with The White Mirror is that I think Jade Dragon Mountain had a more exciting finale. There were some excellent reveals in this book, but the reveal of the killer was a little anticlimactic.

On a final note, I was very excited to see that the next book will likely be taking place in the Forbidden City. I loved the way the characters described it, “where the drum towers ring the hours through the night and every breeze that stirs a silk curtain whispers a secret.”

Count me in!

Oct 21, 2016

As the reviews mention, this series will be enjoyed by fans of Judge Dee and Sano Ichiro. Hamza, who has continued with Li Du from the first book and whose tales sound like Arabian Nights stories, helps to gather clues and observe the motley assemblage of people trapped by the early snow storm--bandits, a tax collector, a lama, and the family sheltering all of them. Finding the murderer, frees some of the characters to move on to a new life or to go home to find what they have lost. Complex, but with a well-explained, clear resolution. I can hardly wait for the next in this series.

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