Chinese Crime Fiction.

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    • Abstract:
      This article discusses the history and evolution of Chinese crime and detective fiction. China had its own classic detective genre nearly a millennium before Edgar Allan Poe. Translations of Sherlock Holmes tales were available in Chinese and Japanese in the early twentieth century, and China produced many imitations in the inter-war years, including the Chinese Sherlock Holmes. Despite ancient and modern detective story traditions, the genre was banned during the Mao years, except for Soviet-influenced formulas of liquidating counterrevolutionaries and of counterespionage, in which the villain invariably is motivated by political conspiracy rather than by private, criminal aims. Westernization of Chinese detective fiction in the twentieth century put the genre in a very bad light during Mao's years. The existence of crime itself was seldom acknowledged in the People's Republic. Even so, the classic puzzler detective story was reborn fully developed when China opened up in the late 1970. The new crop of Chinese stories had well-made and intricate plots, apolitical red-herring suspects, and countless misleading clues, as if the authors had been writing in the genre all along, just waiting for the day when the works at the bottom of their drawers could be published.