Monday, October 19, 2015


I didn't understand why the English title is 'The Uncanny Soup'. But I borrowed the book purely because of its cover and title in Chinese- 中国作家鬼马星(本名马雨默)的莫兰系列第一集《八鲜汤》. I knew it would be like a thriller. Probably body parts cooked in soup. Muahahahah.

Written by Chinese author Ma Yu Mo (马雨默) who currently resides in Shanghai, this book is the first in a series of mystery/suspense novels with the rather annoying protagonist- newly divorced 27-year-old Mo Lan (莫兰) who is always caught up in situations where it involves a murder and her presence. Her 33-year-old childhood friend and eventual lover Gao Jing (高竞) who's a police officer (凶杀科警探) and lead detective on many of her 'cases'.

There're seven titles in the series. While Mo Lan and Gao Jing's romance and relationship develops over the seven titles, they comprise separate murders and cases of course. I only borrowed what the library had on the shelves- five books. After 《八鲜汤》'The Uncanny Soup', there're 《风的预谋》'Hide in the Wind', 《葬礼之后的葬礼》 'Funeral after a Funeral', 《宴无好宴》'A Banquet on Purpose' and 《隔墙玫瑰》'The Rose through the Wall'. I didn't bother to find the final two books- 《猫的复生》'Cat's Revenge' and 《喜悦岛》'Happy Island'. Had pockets of free time and finished the books fast over three days. They were rather entertaining. Although I wondered why I bothered to spend time ploughing through them. Hahahahahaha.

Burst into laughter at the end of the first book. Completely cracked up midway through the second book. Very Nancy Drew, bit like Veronica Mars, or maybe Mrs Adela Brady. But Mo Lan is no Lisbeth Salander, Miss Marple or Bertha Cool. The murder plots in the series feel dated; the writing isn't particularly engaging, and the obssession with class divides, supposedly agreeable womenly pursuits, and marital infidelity, is totally off-putting. Stereotypes abound in the crimes which can't move on beyond motives of unrequited love, generational hate and money squabbles. Reality is such, so is life, I suppose. Some of the premise of the plots are quite funny till they could pass off for a daytime soap. It's terribly YA. LOL.

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