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Murder in the Forbidden City

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Peking, 1867 When one of the Empress’s ladies-in-waiting is killed in the Forbidden City, she orders Inspector Gong to find the killer. Unfortunately, as a man, he is forbidden from entering the Inner Court. How is he supposed to solve a murder when he cannot visit the scene of the crime or talk to the women in the victim’s life? He won’t be able to solve this crime alone Peking, 1867 When one of the Empress’s ladies-in-waiting is killed in the Forbidden City, she orders Inspector Gong to find the killer. Unfortunately, as a man, he is forbidden from entering the Inner Court. How is he supposed to solve a murder when he cannot visit the scene of the crime or talk to the women in the victim’s life? He won’t be able to solve this crime alone. The widowed Lady Li is devastated when she finds out about the murder of her sister-in-law, who was serving as the Empress’s lady-in-waiting. She is determined to discover who killed her, even if it means assisting the rude and obnoxious Inspector Gong and going undercover in the Forbidden City. Together, will Lady Li and Inspector Gong be able to find the murderer before he – or she – strikes again? Amanda Roberts is the successful author of historical novel Threads of Silk and the fun cookbook series Crazy Dumplings. She has lived in China since 2010. She is a full-time writer and editor and writes about her life at TwoAmericansinChina.com.


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Peking, 1867 When one of the Empress’s ladies-in-waiting is killed in the Forbidden City, she orders Inspector Gong to find the killer. Unfortunately, as a man, he is forbidden from entering the Inner Court. How is he supposed to solve a murder when he cannot visit the scene of the crime or talk to the women in the victim’s life? He won’t be able to solve this crime alone Peking, 1867 When one of the Empress’s ladies-in-waiting is killed in the Forbidden City, she orders Inspector Gong to find the killer. Unfortunately, as a man, he is forbidden from entering the Inner Court. How is he supposed to solve a murder when he cannot visit the scene of the crime or talk to the women in the victim’s life? He won’t be able to solve this crime alone. The widowed Lady Li is devastated when she finds out about the murder of her sister-in-law, who was serving as the Empress’s lady-in-waiting. She is determined to discover who killed her, even if it means assisting the rude and obnoxious Inspector Gong and going undercover in the Forbidden City. Together, will Lady Li and Inspector Gong be able to find the murderer before he – or she – strikes again? Amanda Roberts is the successful author of historical novel Threads of Silk and the fun cookbook series Crazy Dumplings. She has lived in China since 2010. She is a full-time writer and editor and writes about her life at TwoAmericansinChina.com.

30 review for Murder in the Forbidden City

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    A fabulous mystery story to keep your attention. Lady Li has to help out Inspector Gong when one of the Empresse’s lady in waiting is murdered. Men aren’t allowed near them. Easy reading and before you even realize it, you’re at the end. Fabulous author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Different (in a good way!) You land slap bang in the middle of the action. I liked that. The style is different, but I quickly got used to it. After the hectic beginning it does slow down a bit, but the descriptions were interesting. It’s different than any other mystery I’ve read. The fact that it’s in China, in 1867, inside a palace, all these things make for a different kind of story. It felt like the author did extensive research. Alternating POV’s in third person between Inspector Gong and L Different (in a good way!) You land slap bang in the middle of the action. I liked that. The style is different, but I quickly got used to it. After the hectic beginning it does slow down a bit, but the descriptions were interesting. It’s different than any other mystery I’ve read. The fact that it’s in China, in 1867, inside a palace, all these things make for a different kind of story. It felt like the author did extensive research. Alternating POV’s in third person between Inspector Gong and Lady Li. Underneath all that haughtiness Lady Li is likable, fierce, clever and perceptive. She notices details others may not. And she has empathy. Inspector Gong can be quite rude and arrogant. He is not very understanding or sympathetic. But he is determined to find the killer. The emotions, I just felt them, they jumped from the page straight into my heart. Exciting to have found something so unique!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    What an interesting book. Amanda takes us back in China's history to a time of Emperors and Empresses. There is a murder in the inter-court. Inspector Gong is not allowed where the Ladies and Concubines live. It is forbidden. But Lady Seyi is still dead. How to investigate? After the inspector informs the lady's sister-law of her death they decide that she Lady Li will go undercover to investigate the murder. Lady Li has been a Lady-in-waiting to the Empress before. Join Inspector Gong and Lady What an interesting book. Amanda takes us back in China's history to a time of Emperors and Empresses. There is a murder in the inter-court. Inspector Gong is not allowed where the Ladies and Concubines live. It is forbidden. But Lady Seyi is still dead. How to investigate? After the inspector informs the lady's sister-law of her death they decide that she Lady Li will go undercover to investigate the murder. Lady Li has been a Lady-in-waiting to the Empress before. Join Inspector Gong and Lady Li in this exciting, page turning mystery. You won't regret it. Strongly recommend this story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    I received a free copy of this book from Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. A great story that the author clearly did research for. The author makes readers feel like they are really in the world with vivid descriptions and frequent action. Full of action surrounding politics, the murder, and drama within the court the pages turn by themselves. I’m not sure where the next book will go but I’m excited to find out. Lady Li is a unique character with aspirations and that makes her some I received a free copy of this book from Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. A great story that the author clearly did research for. The author makes readers feel like they are really in the world with vivid descriptions and frequent action. Full of action surrounding politics, the murder, and drama within the court the pages turn by themselves. I’m not sure where the next book will go but I’m excited to find out. Lady Li is a unique character with aspirations and that makes her someone you want to root for.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I received an ARC and this is my honest review. I absolutely loved this mystery. Amanda Roberts has captured the atmosphere and describes the courts and settings very well. Her focus on the fine details bring the characters to life. It is not hard to imagine the boredom of the ladies in waiting, the fear of the courtiers, the reverence and scrapping of kowtowed heads and whispered voices in the presence of the Empress. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next. Love the cover too.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    A murder mystery that takes place in Chinese history! Love murder mysteries, love asian locations, and history! All this combined is just a wonderful piece of work that anyone who likes those things will enjoy. The murder is so suspenseful I was hooked right up until the end. I can't wait to read more along these lines from Amanda Roberts. A murder mystery that takes place in Chinese history! Love murder mysteries, love asian locations, and history! All this combined is just a wonderful piece of work that anyone who likes those things will enjoy. The murder is so suspenseful I was hooked right up until the end. I can't wait to read more along these lines from Amanda Roberts.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Saundra Wright

    An intimate look behind the walls of the Forbidden City with Lady Li as she helps solve a murder. This book hits the spot for history and mystery buff alike, giving a realistic view of life in China and a great murder to solve, developing characters you will hope to meet again in the future. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Ybarra

    A murder set in a different country, in a different time. This was a true who done it and it kept you guessing until the very end. This was a fabulous read that kept me turning pages just to find out what would happen next! I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Barb VanderWel

    I love this & I can't wait for more. I will be also leaving a review on Goodreads @ Amazon. And letting everyone know about it. So i gave it a 5 Stars. I love this & I can't wait for more. I will be also leaving a review on Goodreads @ Amazon. And letting everyone know about it. So i gave it a 5 Stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    SEng

    I enjoyed this story as Lady Li is enlisted by Inspector Gong to find the murderer of the Empress' lady in waiting. She also happens to be Lady LI's sister in law. I found the background intriguing as men are not allowed into the Forbidden City. Will they be able to solve this crime in time? I received an arc of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review. I enjoyed this story as Lady Li is enlisted by Inspector Gong to find the murderer of the Empress' lady in waiting. She also happens to be Lady LI's sister in law. I found the background intriguing as men are not allowed into the Forbidden City. Will they be able to solve this crime in time? I received an arc of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid Vermeulen-Quakernaat

    I love reading Amanda Roberts stories. The way she can describe the zeitgeist in a Chinese historical book, great! The secret life of the emperors wives, his empress and how it went. The power, the jealousy, the rules; you imagine yourself there. This part is about solving a murder in the forbidden city. As a man, Inspector Gong cannot do that and he needs help from a woman. He finds this help with the sister-in-law of the deceased woman. The difference in status between the two is beautifully port I love reading Amanda Roberts stories. The way she can describe the zeitgeist in a Chinese historical book, great! The secret life of the emperors wives, his empress and how it went. The power, the jealousy, the rules; you imagine yourself there. This part is about solving a murder in the forbidden city. As a man, Inspector Gong cannot do that and he needs help from a woman. He finds this help with the sister-in-law of the deceased woman. The difference in status between the two is beautifully portrayed, the difference between the Manchu and the Han, the difference between the worth of a man and a woman of that time. The rules of society that prevent their rising love. All this makes the story so fascinating and I am looking forward to follow-up stories Highly recommendend I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katheyer

    „Murder in the Forbidden City“ the first installment in the “Qing Dynasty Mystery” Series by Amanda Roberts, featuring Inspector Gong is a delightful “whodunnit” set in the late period of the Qing Dynasty, precisely in the year 1867 under the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor. As a lady-in-waiting is killed in the Forbidden City, the Empress assigns Inspector Gong to the case, the problem being that Gong, as a mere mortal, isn’t allowed to enter the Inner Court in the Forbidden City, which poses an i „Murder in the Forbidden City“ the first installment in the “Qing Dynasty Mystery” Series by Amanda Roberts, featuring Inspector Gong is a delightful “whodunnit” set in the late period of the Qing Dynasty, precisely in the year 1867 under the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor. As a lady-in-waiting is killed in the Forbidden City, the Empress assigns Inspector Gong to the case, the problem being that Gong, as a mere mortal, isn’t allowed to enter the Inner Court in the Forbidden City, which poses an insurmountable obstacle to solve the crime. Nevertheless, Gong is a resourceful man, and thus he seeks out Lady Li (the deceased’s sister-in-law) to help out with the investigation. Lady Li initial reluctance wears off as the story develops. Amanda Roberts possesses a fabulous understanding of historical China, which makes this “murder mystery” not only a very entertaining story, but also a light study in Qing Dynasty traditions and procedurals. With very accurate descriptions, a great attention to detail and fully fleshed realistic characters, genuine and relatable (the tension between Gong and Li develops into friendship of sort in a very organic way), this series offers the usual entertainment of a “whodunnit” paired with historical facts and witty, smart characters. Already looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laurence

    Well researched, highly readable and entertaining The novel is set in nineteenth century China, as westerners are beginning to enter and trade with China. When one of the emperor's ladies inwaiting is murdered, a police inspector is charged with finding the murderer. However, cultural rules and court structure prevent him from entering the forbidden city to interview witnesses or view the scene of the crime. He must enlist the aid of a noble woman who is related to the victim, to help his search. Well researched, highly readable and entertaining The novel is set in nineteenth century China, as westerners are beginning to enter and trade with China. When one of the emperor's ladies inwaiting is murdered, a police inspector is charged with finding the murderer. However, cultural rules and court structure prevent him from entering the forbidden city to interview witnesses or view the scene of the crime. He must enlist the aid of a noble woman who is related to the victim, to help his search. As she and the empress face danger and court intrigues abound, the rich background of China's culture is presented

  14. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    Good read I enjoyed reading the book. I had just finished a book by another author that was about the Chinese Imperial Court from the same time period. I thought based on the two books, that the author did a good job showing the flavor of the court and what it was like. The only thing that was a little jarring was her use of some very modern phrases that would not have even been used by English speaking people of that time period, "kids" instead of children, and the phrase "no way". Otherwise it Good read I enjoyed reading the book. I had just finished a book by another author that was about the Chinese Imperial Court from the same time period. I thought based on the two books, that the author did a good job showing the flavor of the court and what it was like. The only thing that was a little jarring was her use of some very modern phrases that would not have even been used by English speaking people of that time period, "kids" instead of children, and the phrase "no way". Otherwise it was a good read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Hollie-Mystery Girl 27

    This is a must read I couldn't put it down!!! The story starts off with the murder of fifteen year old Lady Yun a lady in waiting to the Empress of China in 1867. You are drawn in by murder, suspense, twists and a forbidden romance. I recommend this as a fast intriguing read. One that will want you hoping and praying for the sequel. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a must read I couldn't put it down!!! The story starts off with the murder of fifteen year old Lady Yun a lady in waiting to the Empress of China in 1867. You are drawn in by murder, suspense, twists and a forbidden romance. I recommend this as a fast intriguing read. One that will want you hoping and praying for the sequel. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Murder in the Forbidden City (Qing Dynasty Mysteries Book 1) is written by Amanda Roberts. This fictional murder mystery provides the reader with a view of life in 1867 China. Fans of murder mysteries will see the challenges posed by the social mores of the time as well as the classes existing then. To overcome these obstacles and find the murderer, a great deal of cleverness must be employed. It is a fascinating look at history we rarely have access to in China.

  17. 5 out of 5

    B.E.

    An interesting look into 19th century China and its Imperial Court with what seemed like more updated language for more modern readers. Plus, it had an intriguing mystery with plenty of twists and a whodunnit I didn't see coming. Good stuff. The hint of romance was surprising, but cool. Definitely worth a read. I'm glad I picked this one up. It was a refreshingly different read while still feeding my love of mysteries. An interesting look into 19th century China and its Imperial Court with what seemed like more updated language for more modern readers. Plus, it had an intriguing mystery with plenty of twists and a whodunnit I didn't see coming. Good stuff. The hint of romance was surprising, but cool. Definitely worth a read. I'm glad I picked this one up. It was a refreshingly different read while still feeding my love of mysteries.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Greeshma Karkera

    This was an interesting story. However some of the things are very similar to her other Book, Threads of Silk, and most of the characters seem repeated with a little changes to their name. But this book did keep me hooked till the very end. I loved how the tale twisted in the end and left me dumbfounded. A nice read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anita

    Excellent mystery 5 stars Historical China. Murder in the inner court. How can the inspector investigate the crime when he cannot even view the location of speak to any of the many possible witnesses. Intrigue. Romance. A very different culture. Surprise solution. Believable characters. Suspense.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Necessary

    I love anything about the Orient. This book set in China and most of the action taking place in the Forbidden City was just my cup of tea. The opulence, but the sheer waste amazed me. I mean 100 dishes for the Empress, I mean give me a break. A great murder mystery that kept me guessing until the end!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elsbeth

    I really enjoyed this mystery set in China. To learn more about China in the 1900's and especially life in the Forbidden City. Combined with a good mystery. Couldn't be better! I' m looking forward to reading the next book in this series! I really enjoyed this mystery set in China. To learn more about China in the 1900's and especially life in the Forbidden City. Combined with a good mystery. Couldn't be better! I' m looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    I admit it's not a modern classic or anything, but it's interesting and well-written enough that I wish the author would get the hell on with finishing the second story. I admit it's not a modern classic or anything, but it's interesting and well-written enough that I wish the author would get the hell on with finishing the second story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Garrison

    Roberts Knows Her Stuff Roberts has immersed herself in Chinese history and thoroughly knows not only the social mores of the years after the Boxer Rebellion, but also the literal ins and outs of life in the Forbidden City. The characters are well developed, and the red herrings are so good that you truly don’t know who the culprit is until the last pages of the book. Unlike Agatha Christie and other mystery writers, there’s no miraculous ending with all ends tied, neatly if not logically. You fol Roberts Knows Her Stuff Roberts has immersed herself in Chinese history and thoroughly knows not only the social mores of the years after the Boxer Rebellion, but also the literal ins and outs of life in the Forbidden City. The characters are well developed, and the red herrings are so good that you truly don’t know who the culprit is until the last pages of the book. Unlike Agatha Christie and other mystery writers, there’s no miraculous ending with all ends tied, neatly if not logically. You follow one herring to completion before another one is tossed out. The pacing of the tale is perfect. While I wouldn’t say the book is a page turner exactly,the plot and Roberts’ writing styles kept me interested. Midway through the book I thought the famous mystery solving couples had nothing on Inspector Gong and Lady Liu, and I’m thrilled that Roberts has them teaming up together to solve another mystery.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alec

    Overall this was really good, I especially loved the setting, and how the author managed to make me feel like I was actually there with the characters. I also liked the way the mystery unraveled, and I think the reveal made a lot of sense, yet I hadn't been able to guess the murderer. However, I didn't really care about the romance plot line at all. It kind of seemed to come out of nowhere and not add anything to the story. There were also some quotes that came across as really transphobic, becaus Overall this was really good, I especially loved the setting, and how the author managed to make me feel like I was actually there with the characters. I also liked the way the mystery unraveled, and I think the reveal made a lot of sense, yet I hadn't been able to guess the murderer. However, I didn't really care about the romance plot line at all. It kind of seemed to come out of nowhere and not add anything to the story. There were also some quotes that came across as really transphobic, because they basically say things along the line that if you don't have a penis you're not a real man, and since similar things were said more than once, I knocked off a star for that. Still I would recommend the book, and I'd be interested in continuing on with the series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Betty Reynolds

    Lady Li has lost her young sister-in-law, who was murdered in a gruesome way in the Forbidden City. When Inspector Gong requests her help, she agrees. Only she can enter the Forbidden City, so she will have no one to help if the murderer tries to kill her as well. I love this series about ancient China in the time an Empress ruled. The suspense is nail-biting, and You have to find out who the murderer is before you can put the book down! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am vo Lady Li has lost her young sister-in-law, who was murdered in a gruesome way in the Forbidden City. When Inspector Gong requests her help, she agrees. Only she can enter the Forbidden City, so she will have no one to help if the murderer tries to kill her as well. I love this series about ancient China in the time an Empress ruled. The suspense is nail-biting, and You have to find out who the murderer is before you can put the book down! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Entertaining! I found the book to be a great light read! I enjoy books that are placed both in a foreign climate and a historical time. China bro g one of my favorites. It is a great plot, really, with a world hidden from most people. I do think the author could have done with more, research, as I found it less believable than I would have liked regarding a couple of details. However, a great read and glad I found it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    It is ok This is an "unsuitable man and high born lady solve mysteries and become lovers" series. This setting being China instead of English society is what makes it stand out. I was not a fan of the writing style- it was almost "YA" - kind of juvenile. I do intend to read the next book in the series, as I did enjoy the setting and the mystery. It is ok This is an "unsuitable man and high born lady solve mysteries and become lovers" series. This setting being China instead of English society is what makes it stand out. I was not a fan of the writing style- it was almost "YA" - kind of juvenile. I do intend to read the next book in the series, as I did enjoy the setting and the mystery.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    This was enjoyable, reading about a different culture, but I would have liked a more 3D version, particularly of the inspector hero. Quite aside from the cultural attitudes that come with such a setting, he came across as flat and arrogant, with a sudden flip to being 'understanding' of the heroine's qualities. However, I would like to try the next book in this series to see if these protagonists are more fleshed out. Recommended. This was enjoyable, reading about a different culture, but I would have liked a more 3D version, particularly of the inspector hero. Quite aside from the cultural attitudes that come with such a setting, he came across as flat and arrogant, with a sudden flip to being 'understanding' of the heroine's qualities. However, I would like to try the next book in this series to see if these protagonists are more fleshed out. Recommended.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Phil Ellenberger

    Enjoyed Good mystery. My first insight into Chinese (historical) culture was an enjoyable venture. The forbidden city is fascinating. One thing we lean is that the society has much in common all over the world

  30. 4 out of 5

    Yanper

    The story was not bad, certainly not a big mystery, but well written. The story happens in China inside the imperial palace in the forbidden city and this fact makes the difference with every other crime mystery.

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