The Global Chinese Detective Story

A talk by Professor Jeffrey C. Kinkley (St. John’s University and Portland State University)

Uncensored detective novels set in China that use murder mysteries to explore broader Chinese social problems—written outside of China, typically in English, and not always by authors of Chinese origin—have sold over one million copies worldwide, thanks not least to the efforts of Qiu Xiaolong. Yet Qiu’s detective novels are not the only ones, and he did not start the crime fiction phenomenon. Is there a global discourse here, beyond the usual diasporic, expat, Sinophone, Anglophone, cultural identity, and Orientalist paradigms?


Jeffrey C. Kinkley  金介甫, retired from teaching at St. John’s University, New York City, is a Courtesy Professor of History and of World Languages and Literatures at Portland State University, Oregon. He is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow, translator of modern Chinese fiction, and author of monographs about Shen Congwen and his times, China’s avant-garde historical novels, and fiction written in Chinese about crime, the law, and corruption.