CHINA / Newsmaker

Professor turns successful detective storyteller
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-17 15:44

Criminal justice expert He Jiahong has an identity that is strange to the people in his circle: a writer of detective stories. The professor of law, who teaches Evidence Investigation and Evidence Law at Renmin University of China, spends much of his spare time on his writing, which has become quite fruitful.

He has so far published four detective novels: "The Mad Woman" (Feng Nu), "The Enigma of the Dragon Eye Stone" (Longyanshi Zhi Mi), "The Mysterious Ancient Painting" (Shenmi De Guhua) and "The Evils in the Stock Market" (Gushi Muhou De Zui'e).

He Jiahong, a prolific writer of detective novels, has entered a field that few Chinese authors dare touch. [China Daily]

All four books have been translated and published in France, and have been warmly welcomed by French readers. Encouraged by the prospect of Chinese detective stories' success in the Western market, Penguin, the world's leading book publisher, has decided to bring them to English-speaking readers.

The translation of "The Mad Woman" is currently in progress now and if everything goes smoothly, the book should hit bookshops by the end of this year. Negotiations are continuing on the publication of Italian editions.

Rare subject

Detective novels, such as the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle's famed Sherlock Holmes and the works of Agatha Christie, have a very large readership in China.

But for the writing of detective novels, it is a different story. It seems that Chinese culture is more suited to brooding martial arts novels, where swordsmen use their martial skills to "rob from the rich and give to the poor."

Detective stories, which may lack legends and require more logic, have been absent for many years. Besides that, the genre is never considered "real literature" by academia and is never taken too seriously.

That is why He's crime novels have drawn so much interest, a field traditionally dominated by Westerners in which only very few Chinese have ever set foot.

He's novels have riveting plots, and his energetic writing also presents a vivid panorama of contemporary China.

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