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The Murder of Mr. Ma (Hardcover)

The Murder of Mr. Ma By SJ Rozan, John Shen Yen Nee Cover Image
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For fans of Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films, this stunning, swashbuckling series opener by a powerhouse duo of authors is at once comfortingly familiar and tantalizingly new.

Two unlikely allies race through the cobbled streets of 1920s London in search of a killer targeting Chinese immigrants.

London, 1924. When shy academic Lao She meets larger-than-life Judge Dee Ren Jie, his quiet life abruptly turns from books and lectures to daring chases and narrow escapes. Dee has come to London to investigate the murder of a man he’d known during World War I when serving with the Chinese Labour Corps. No sooner has Dee interviewed the grieving widow than another dead body turns up. Then another. All stabbed to death with a butterfly sword. Will Dee and Lao be able to connect the threads of the murders—or are they next in line as victims?

Blending traditional gong’an crime fiction with the most iconic aspects of the Sherlock Holmes canon, Dee and Lao’s first adventure is as thrilling and visual as an action film, as imaginative and transportive as a timeless classic.

About the Author

John Shen Yen Nee is a half Chinese, half Scottish American media executive, producer and entrepreneur who was born in Knoxville, grew up in San Diego, and is now based in Los Angeles, with a penchant for very long run-on sentences. He has served as president of WildStorm Productions; senior vice president of DC Comics; publisher of Marvel Comics; CEO of Cryptozoic Entertainment; and cofounder of CCG Labs. You can read more about him at 

SJ Rozan is the best-selling author of twenty novels and over eighty short stories, and editor of three anthologies. Her multiple awards include the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, Macavity; Japanese Maltese Falcon; and the Private Eye Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award. She’s served on the national boards of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and as president of Private Eye Writers of America. She was born in the Bronx and lives in Manhattan.

Praise For…

Praise for The Murder of Mr. Ma

“The vivid action scenes feel as visceral as a Chow Yun-fat circular kick with double forearm strike. A sparkling and thought-provoking debut of a fresh dynamic duo whose adventures I’ll be eager to follow.”
—Paula Woods, Los Angeles Times

“Co-authors Nee and Rozan offer an appealingly unusual, action-packed Sherlock Holmes pastiche with deep roots in both Chinese crime fiction and the history of early 20th-century England.”
The Washington Post

The Murder of Mr. Ma is a refreshingly unique mystery featuring a Chinese detective and his somewhat unwitting partner in 1920s London, combining classic elements from both British and Chinese detective stories in a thrilling romp that doesn't shy away from the realities of life under colonial dynamics. Lao She and Dee Ren Jie are a hilarious and compelling duo to follow!”
—Xiran Jay Zhao, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Iron Widow

The Murder of Mr. Ma is a joy, with this Chinese Sherlock Holmes and his Watson bringing a thrilling, complex, and thought-provoking new take on 1920s London.”
—Laurie R. King, bestselling author of The Lantern’s Dance

“Fans of Sherlock Holmes, devotees of intricate crime, and lovers of historical London will thrill over The Murder of Mr. Ma, the new gift to mystery readers bestowed by John Shen Yen Nee and SJ Rozan. With a plot as clever as Chinese veteran of WWI turned independent investigator Dee, and pacing as light-footed as the martial artists engaged in the frequent fisticuffs, this case has it all—even romance and authentic food, if you can stomach such things. I'm only miffed because I don't know when the next in the series will land on my doorstep.”
—Lyndsay Faye, author of Dust and Shadow

“I was blown away by this exuberant, fun, cinematic tale of two Chinese immigrants—kung-fu fighting Judge Dee and his unlikely sidekick, academic Lao She—making like Holmes and Watson in the mean streets of 1920’s London.”
—Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Editors’ Pick

“A complex detective novel that explores Chinese lives within a larger British society . . . The martial arts of Judge Dee and the intellectual observations of Lao She brings a distinctive new approach to detective fiction.”
—Historical Novel Society

“The compelling plot moves along swiftly. Further, it’s filled with booby-trapped buildings, masterful disguises (including Springheel Jack), the click of mah-jongg tiles, and the awful prejudice that pervaded the times in which the novel is set. Forget the time anomaly: take a journey back a hundred years with a 1,300-year-old character. You won’t regret it.”
Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine

“Jump into this absurd and charming period mystery for the wild scenes of threat, battle, rescue, and humor, and make the most of the fun involved.”
—New York Journal of Books

“Unique and special . . . Rozan and Nee will educate readers as they entertain them . . . Fans—and you will be a fan—can look forward to the next adventure that blends logical investigation with kick-ass action in a way that crime fiction readers rarely encounter.”
—BOLO Books

“Fans of Sherlock Holmes will recognize the format, a brilliant, addicted sleuth accompanied by an admiring assistant. But, the authors put their own spin on it as the two men are Chinese, trying to help their fellow Chinese in a London that sees them as lesser beings. The Murder of Mr. Ma is unrelenting in its pace, a wonderful tale of adventure and derring-do.”
—Lesa’s Book Critiques

“A bewitching series kickoff . . . The intricate plot, which is bolstered by vivid period detail and playfully riffs on real-life figures in Chinese history (including Lao), is enhanced by healthy doses of humor and well-orchestrated action. Readers will be clamoring for a sequel.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Rozan and comics exec Nee create a distinct sense of time and place in this brisk adventure . . . Lao narrates their adventures as Dee impersonates a street legend, ‘Springheel Jack, the Terror of London,’ swinging from lampposts and launching himself across rooftops in search of a killer. Fans of the Sherlock Holmes canon will appreciate this fast-paced, exciting novel.”
Library Journal, Starred Review

“A high-energy, rambunctious tale . . . The authors do a wonderful job of depicting the bustling London of the ‘20s, the Chinese community and the relentless racism and stereotypes it is a victim of, and absolutely fabulous displays of martial arts. There’s word that Dr. Dee may be returning to solve another case; here’s hoping he does!” 
—First Clue Reviews

“Judge Dee, though fighting his addiction to opium, manages to come up with a plausible reason why so many members of the battalion have met sudden deaths and to excel in the bouts of martial arts in which so many scenes of conflict end . . . First of a series that’s acutely attuned to British racism between the two world wars.”
Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9781641295499
ISBN-10: 164129549X
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 312
Language: English