The Firemaker by Peter May
(Murder in China)

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Margaret Campbell, a Chicago forensic pathologist, has been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America. Arriving in Beijing, she checks “nothing to declare” on the health declaration they gave her on the plane---nothing, that is, “except a broken heart and a wasted life, neither of which was contagious.”

She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle. In a furious clash, he dresses her down in perfect English. But Li soon finds himself reintroduced to Margaret by his superiors when the newly promoted detective’s first case requires Margaret’s special expertise to identify a horribly burned corpse. Thrown together to track down the killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.


About Peter May

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Peter May won the Scottish Young Journalist of the Year Award at the age of 21, and had his first novel published at age 26. He lives in France with his wife, writer Janice Hally.
Published May 6, 1999 by Coronet Books. 432 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Margaret is set up for death by an alcoholic plant geneticist, Li is framed for the death of his beloved uncle and both must run for their lives in the hope that they can tell the world what they know of a dangerous secret that could lead to disaster on a grand scale.

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Publishers Weekly

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This first novel in a series that has already includes six volumes in Britain, promises more fireworks than it delivers both as romance and as melodramatic murder mystery.

Sep 01 2005 | Read Full Review of The Firemaker (Murder in China)

Reviewing the Evidence

The investigation proceeds as Li Yan and Margaret grow closer together.

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You do not need to be Chinese to appreciate this, but Peter May's writing provides a unique perspective inside the Chinese mind.

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