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The Gentleman from Japan

Cover of The Gentleman from Japan

The Gentleman from Japan

Inspector O Series, Book 6

Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to the inboxes of Western intelligence agencies that this "dumpling maker" is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Either the machine must be disabled while still in the factory, or the transportation route must be discovered so the equipment can be intercepted before it reaches its destination. An old friend recruits Inspector O to assist in the complex operation designed to disrupt the plans for shipping the machine.

Carefully planted bits of information and bizarre events have led both the Spanish factory and those trying to intercept the machine to conclude that Japanese criminal organizations are involved in buying and transporting the "dumpling" machine in order to hide the involvement of North Korea. A flurry of murders puts the focus on the northeast Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea, where O's nephew Major Bing is the chief of State Security. Bing has his own problems dealing with a corrupt local mayor who is out for his head, coping with a new deputy who cannot be trusted, and figuring out why a Chinese gangster he's worked for years to chase away has suddenly returned.

Church―hailed as "the equal of le Carré" by Publishers Weekly—takes O deep into a maze of cracked mirrors that hide the exits from a deadly double-blind in his most elaborate mystery yet.

Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to the inboxes of Western intelligence agencies that this "dumpling maker" is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Either the machine must be disabled while still in the factory, or the transportation route must be discovered so the equipment can be intercepted before it reaches its destination. An old friend recruits Inspector O to assist in the complex operation designed to disrupt the plans for shipping the machine.

Carefully planted bits of information and bizarre events have led both the Spanish factory and those trying to intercept the machine to conclude that Japanese criminal organizations are involved in buying and transporting the "dumpling" machine in order to hide the involvement of North Korea. A flurry of murders puts the focus on the northeast Chinese city of Yanji, near the border with North Korea, where O's nephew Major Bing is the chief of State Security. Bing has his own problems dealing with a corrupt local mayor who is out for his head, coping with a new deputy who cannot be trusted, and figuring out why a Chinese gangster he's worked for years to chase away has suddenly returned.

Church―hailed as "the equal of le Carré" by Publishers Weekly—takes O deep into a maze of cracked mirrors that hide the exits from a deadly double-blind in his most elaborate mystery yet.

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About the Author-
  • James Church is the pseudonym of a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. He has wandered through Korea for years. No matter what hat he wore, Church says, he ran across Inspector O many times.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 10, 2016
    A complex mystery involving seven deaths in one night kicks off Church’s excellent sixth novel featuring enigmatic North Korean intelligence operative Inspector O (after 2012’s A Drop of Chinese Blood). O has been living in exile in Yanji, China, with his cynical nephew, Major Bing, who heads that city’s office of the Ministry of State Security. Bing doesn’t want any part in the investigation of the unexplained deaths of three elderly men at a noodle shop, two prostitutes behind a dim sum joint, a female tourist in a new Mongolian tearoom, and a well-dressed man in an upscale hotel restaurant. Contrary to Bing’s wishes, police reports of the eatery-related fatalities have reached his ministry’s headquarters in Beijing, forcing him to take a role. Bing must also fend off Yanji’s corrupt mayor, who hopes to use Bing’s failure to solve the case to get rid of him. Some unexpected turns lead to O taking part in an operation in Europe. The pseudonymous Church, himself a former spy, makes all the plot developments chillingly plausible.

  • AudioFile Magazine Feodor Chin's impressive rendering of accents ranging from Russian to Chinese and Portuguese adds to a story brimming with descriptions of diverse locales and food--some appealing and some less so. The plot alternates between the spirited voices of North Korean police officer Inspector O and his nephew, Major Bing, who oversees state security in a region of China that borders North Korea. Together, they're searching for the manufacturers and buyers of dumpling machines that are actually nuclear weapons being smuggled into North Korea. Chin's skill at conveying the humor, ideas, and prejudices of multiple cultures adds atmosphere and listening pleasure. It's especially relaxing to hear Inspector O's aesthetic appreciation of various trees as he's being drugged, kidnapped, and blindfolded. Audio is a must to thoroughly appreciate this action-packed thriller. S.G.B. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
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The Gentleman from Japan
The Gentleman from Japan
Inspector O Series, Book 6
James Church
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