Thursday, February 19, 2015


恭賀發財 Gung Hay Fat Choy! This is the Year of the Ram (Year of the Goat, Year of the Sheep). Chinese New Year begins today.

O.K. why the confusion of the symbol for this year, as opposed to last year--the Year of the Snake..or prior years: The Year of the Rat, the Year of the Horse, etc.? An article in NBC News explains this  creature confusion in 2015. 

It all stems from the fact that the Chinese use one character for horned animals — translated as "yang" in Mandarin, according to Chinese and linguistics professor Wei Hong. Yang, when used to mean goat, is seen as something strong with a "quiet spirit," Hong said. A sheep is considered softer. 

The NBA's Golden State Warriors unveiled Chinese New Year-themed uniforms that they will wear Friday to celebrate what the team calls the Year of the Goat. Meanwhile, the New York City Council is hosting a Lunar New Year event next week touting a Year of the Ram revelry. Geography can also make a difference. Sheep are raised in northern China, while goats are more common in southern China, which plays into what the year is called depending on one's location.
Generally, people in mainland China seem to be keen on calling it the Year of the Goat — a nod to the country's culinary past, Hong said after reading news reports on the confusion. But she suggests English-speakers don't need to lock horns over the debate, and might want to go authentic: Year of the Yang.

I've put together Chinese New Year's Mystery Lists for the past few years, as well as some titles (scroll down) that take place in China, not necessarily during the New Year. As always, I welcome any additions.


Year of the Dog, Red Jade by Henry Chang 

Year of the Dragon by Robert Daley 
Neon Dragon by John Dobbyn
Dim Sum Dead by Jerrilyn Farmer 
The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen
Chop Suey by Ty Hutchison

The Skull Cage Key by Michael Marriott
The Shanghai Moon by S.J. Rozan
City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley
The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by Robert Van Gulik (7th Century china) "New Year's Eve in Lan-Fang"

Short story by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer: "The Lady Fish Mystery", EQMM, September/October 1996.

The Nancy Drew Notebooks: The Chinese New Year Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The New Year Dragon Dilemma by Ron Roy

A good reference book for contemporary crime fiction in China: Chinese Justice, the Fiction: Law and Literature in Modern China by Jeffrey C. Kinkley (Stanford University Press)

Not specifically about Chinese New Year, here's a short list of authors/mysteries that are set in China:

Ralph Arnote, Hong Kong, China
Biggers, Earl Derr, Charlie Chan: The House Without a Key, The Chinese Parrot, Behind the Curtain, The Black Camel, Keeper of the Keys
Lisa Brackmann, Rock Paper Tiger, Hour of the Ram
Stephen Coonts, Hong Kong
Charles Cumming, Typhoon
Jim Michael Hansen, Bad Laws
S.G. Kiner, The Hong Kong Connection
Diane Wei Liang, The Eye of Jade
Paul French, Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
John L. Mariotti, The Chinese Conspiracy
Peter May, The Firemaker
Xiaolong Qiu, Death of a Red Heroine (and other titles)
Wang Shuo, Playing for Thrills
Eliot Pattison, Many novels set in Tibet
Catherine Sampson, The Pool of Unease
Lisa See, Flower Net
Deborah Shlian, Rabbit in the Moon
Eric Stone, Shanghaied
Nury Vittachi, The Feng Shui Detective
Christopher West, Death of a Blue Lantern

Yin-Lien C. Chin, The "Stone Lion" and Other Chinese Detective Stories
Chen Xiaoquing, Sherlock in Shanghai

Here's a wonderful blog on Writing in China by Bertrand Mialaret (in French)

Also I'll have recipes on my other blog, Dying for Chocolate, for a Chocolate Chinese New Year...Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Goat and Sheep Truffles..

1 comment:

JES said...

Follow-up to Lisa Brackmann's Rock Paper Tiger: Hour of the Rat (2014). Also excellent!