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City of Ink    by Elsa Hart order for
City of Ink
by Elsa Hart
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2018 (2018)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

A standalone follow-up to Jade Dragon Mountain and The White Mirror, City of Ink continues Elsa Hart's satisfying adventure stories set in China in the 1700s. Li Du, a scholar who has returned to Beijing after being banished, purposely keeps a low profile as assistant to a chief inspector so he can investigate his beloved mentor's execution.

A murder in a tile factory arouses Li Du's suspicions, and he delves deeper into the mystery than his supervisor wishes, learning that not only are his Jesuit friends involved but also other respected ministers. In addition, Li Du must contend with the fact that life in Beijing is even more complicated than usual, what with the expected arrival of the long-absent first-born prince and the additional press of students who have come from all over China for the days-long civil-service exams.

While unravelling all of these threads, Li Du enlists the help of his storyteller friend Hamza to finally clear his mentor of guilt in an assassination plot. These neatly told mysteries come vividly to life through the wonderfully detailed descriptions of the people and city of Beijing. City of Ink is an intriguing historical mystery.

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