An absorbing and unusual mystery switching between the protagonist's adult life in London and his childhood in Shanghai. The fluid style of writing made me want to read everything else this author has ever written. I'm enchanted.
I ran down Kiukiang Road, across the hard uneven stones of Yunnan Road, pushed through more crowds along Nanking Road. When at last I reached Bubbling Well Road, my breath was already coming in gasps, but I was encouraged that I now had only this one long straight road, relatively free of people ....
Then at last I was going past the American consul's residence, and then the Robertsons' house. I turned off Bubbling Well Road into our road and a second wind took me the remaining distance to our gate.
I knew as soon as I turned through our gateway - though there was nothing obvious to tell me so - that I was too late, that the thing had finished long ago. I found the front door bolted. I ran to the back door, which opened for me, and ran through the house shouting for some reason not for my mother, but for Mei Li - perhaps even at that stage, I did not wish to acknowledge the implications of shouting for my mother.
The house appeared to be empty. Then as I was standing bewildered in the entrance hall, I heard a giggling sound ....
It dawned on me then that Mei Li was weepng, and I knew as I had known throughout that punishing run home, that my mother was gone.