Book Review of Jade Dragon Mountain by Elsa Hart
I found myself appreciating “Jade Dragon Mountain” more for the historical narrative, folkloric tidbits, and cast of characters than I did for the overarching mystery, though Hart has certainly still crafted a compelling debut, as well as an intriguing investigator in Li Du. The large cast of supporting characters was handled exceptionally well. I especially admired the attention paid to China’s numerous ethnic groups (e.g. Khampa, Manchu), not something I’ve encountered in much China-based historical fiction. The extra twist at the end gave the novel an added oomph that I also liked. I’m eager to see if Hart returns to Li Du in future novels (I’ve been looking for a couple years now for a strong historical mystery series to replace Ariana Franklin, and if this isn’t a standalone then this will be it), but anything from her will likely be worth a read.