Even though we do not often consider mystery novels as good point for analysis, when we peel away the layers and begin to look past the surface, there is actually much that we can learn and much that we can gain in terms of literary significance. For that reason, one of the easiest and most effective ways to analyze detective literature is to go through and pick apart each chapter of the work.
As chapter five opens, the reader is given more information about the death of Guang Henglai, and what the case will involve for Stark. We also learn more and Henglai’s father, and the real amount of power and influence that he holds in China. It becomes clear that perhaps Guang Mingyun may have been attempting some business ventures on the interior land of China was his son disappeared and was subsequently murdered. After receiving some more background information regarding the case, David is given his necessary information and departs for China. On the place, he meets a woman named Beth Madsen. Although the two part ways at the end of the chapter, they are staying in the same hotel, and it is possible that a relationship may develop between them in the future, although we are still unsure as to the nature of the relationship between Liu and David. As David arrives at his hotel, we learn more about his family life, and what prompted the divorce from his wife. With the focus of the chapter more on personal relations than the actual case and matters of police work, we can only expect that a relationship may play a major role at some point in the near future of the story.
Chapter six picks up exactly where chapter five leaves off. After a sleepless night at the hotel, David goes for an early morning run, and the reader is introduced to some of the finer points of Chinese city design. We also learn about the family history of Liu Hulan, the history of her parents, and how she has come to live where she does today. David is picked up by Peter, Hulan’s driver, and taken to the Ministry of Public Security, where he is introduced to Section Chief Zai, as well as his now partner, Liu Hulan. After the meeting, David and Hulan leave to discuss the basics of the case and what they have discovered since being given their assignments. After the meeting, we witness a scene from Hulan’s family, and we are introduced to her mother, who has apparently suffered some sort of accident. We are also given a glimpse into the nature of Hulan’s fathers personality, and the nature and manners of the family. We are alerted to the fact that Hulan’s father does not approve of her job, and wishes that she would leave work and take care of her mother. Interestingly, even though it would have seemed that Hulan loved her job but a few days ago, perhaps now we are given a different idea. Family comes first for her, and this is no doubt the first time that the idea has played a major role in her life. We are also left to wonder about the nature of the relationship between Hulan and David, as there is clearly tension and a past relationship of some kind between them. It seems that only time will tell how the relationship between the two will play out now, and what the investigations for the case will reveal.
Chapter seven opens with David and Hulan visiting Bill Watson. Although it becomes immediately clear that the two have very different styles, neither method seems to be successful in attempting to get any information out of Watson. Quote to the contrary, he seems unwilling to provide any information and seems more and more agitated as the interview goes on. Interestingly enough, he also requests that he be given some time to speak with his wife before the inspectors are allowed to question her as well. Following this failure, David and Hulan go to Guang Mingyun, who, although being far more helpful and cooperative then Watson, still seems to be hiding something. In fact, it seems that neither father kept very good track or paid much attention to their sons, and this may indeed be the reason why they were murdered, or at least a contributor to it. Also, it has become apparent that the two young men were very good friends, and it is very likely that they were involved in something together, perhaps something that they should not have been, and which has led to their untimely death. It does seem that each family knows more than they are willing to admit, and only time will tell what exactly is going on with the two murder victims and their families, Something is definitely going on behind the scenes, and it will be very exciting to find out what exactly that something really is.
Beginning immediately after chapter seven, chapter 8 begins with Hulan and David visiting the lake where Billy Watons’s body had been discovered. After alerting David to the fact that more is going on than can be seen on the surface, the two are interrupted by Peter, and go off to explore Henglai’s apartment. The two find checkbooks and receipts detailing the ransfer and movement of ten’s of thousands of dollars. That night, the two go to the Palace Hotel, to speak with some of Henglai’s friends. Although they speak somewhat cryptically, they alert the two detectives to the fact that they really had not seen Henglai for some time now, and that he was involved (along with Billy) with ventures of his own, and was making his own money. However, they were not sure as to the nature of his activities. They do, however, point Hulan and David in the right direction, sending them to the Black Earth Inn, in search of the pairs more recent friends and partners. Although there are still no details to be sure of, the reader must be almost certain by now that the two boys were involved in something illegal, and had possibly become connected to the Triads or the Rising Pheonix. Whatever the nature of their business, it is most certainly what got them into trouble, and may very easily be what cost them their lives.