Confused in Tibet

Over the last month or so, I’ve read the last three Inspector Shan novels, a series of Tibetan mysteries written by Eliot Pattison:  Beautiful Ghosts, Prayer of the Dragon, and The Lord of Death.  Some books are just brain candy.  Sweet confections with light, airy prose, entertaining wit, and/or, feel good stories.  This is not the kind of book Pattison writes.  His complicated, layered mysteries are aerobics for the mind.  They make you work through the dimensions of facts and truths (not necessarily the same thing in Tibet).  Sometimes, the whodunit part is easy to solve, but the whys and the hows can leave you as mystified as they do Shan.

Having finished The Lord of Death, I was curious to see if the blurb for the next book in the series, Mandarin Gate, to be released November 27, has been posted yet.  It has:


In Mandarin Gate, Edgar Award winner Eliot Pattison brings Shan back in a thriller that navigates the explosive political and religious landscape of Tibet.

In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he’d been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan finds himself in the midst of a baffling series of events. During a ceremony meant to rededicate an ancient and long destroyed monastery, Shan stumbles across evidence of a recent murder in the ruins. Now Shan is being torn between some officials who want his help to search the ruins while others want him to disappear back into the mountains – with one group holding out the tantalizing prospect of once again seeing the son from whom Shan has been separated for many years.

In a baffling situation where nothing is what it appears to be, where the FBI, high ranking Beijing officials, the long hidden monks, and the almost forgotten history of the region all pull him in different directions, Shan finds his devotion to the truth sorely tested. Traveling from Tibet to Beijing to the U.S., he must find the links between murder on two continents, a high profile art theft, and an enigmatic, long-missing figure from history.

This sounds very familiar.  In fact, it sounds suspiciously like the fourth book in this series, Beautiful Ghosts.  So, I looked it up.  Here’s the blurb for Beautiful Ghosts:

In an earlier time, Shan Tao Yun was an Inspector stationed in Beijing. But he lost his position, his family and his freedom when he ran afoul of a powerful figure high in the Chinese government. Released unofficially from the work camp to which he’d been sentenced, Shan has been living in remote mountains of Tibet with a group of outlawed Buddhist monks. Without status, official identity, or the freedom to return to his former home in Beijing, Shan finds himself in the midst of a baffling series of events. During a ceremony meant to rededicate an ancient and long destroyed monastery, Shan stumbles across evidence of a recent murder in the ruins. Now Shan is being torn between some officials who want his help to search the ruins while others want him to disappear back into the mountains – with one group holding out the tantalizing prospect of once again seeing the son from whom Shan has been separated for many years.

In a baffling situation where nothing is what it appears to be, where the FBI, high ranking Beijing officials, the long hidden monks, and the almost forgotten history of the region all pull him in different directions, Shan finds his devotion to the truth sorely tested. Traveling from Tibet to Beijing to the U.S., he must find the links between murder on two continents, a high profile art theft, and an enigmatic, long-missing figure from history.

They are the same.  Word for word.  So, now I’m confused.

I don’t know who wrote the blurbs for these books, but they need to be fired for just plain laziness.

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