In this debut mystery, the prequel to Paper Butterfly, Mei Wang is introduced as a modern, independent woman of Beijing at the turn of the 21st century. She has her own apartment, owns a car, and has her own business with that most modern of commodities, a male secretary. Her short career with the Ministry for Public Security has given her insight into the tangled world of Beijing law enforcement, but it is her curiosity and her uncanny knack for hearing things unsaid that make it possible for Mei to succeed as Beijing's first female private investigator. She is called upon by an old family friend, known to her as Uncle Chen, to track down a rare Han Dynasty jade that may have escaped the destruction of the Cultural Revolution.
"Readers familiar with Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs will find many parallels between that independent and unconventional PI and Mei. Mei's challenging family life nicely complements the puzzle of the missing jade and the shifting Chinese political climate."—Publishers Weekly