Jade Dragon Mountain

Jade Dragon Mountain

Paperback - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"On the mountainous border of China and Tibet in 1708, a detective must learn what a killer already knows: that empires rise and fall on the strength of the stories they tell. Li Du was an imperial librarian. Now he is an exile. Arriving in Dayan, the last Chinese town before the Tibetan border, he is surprised to find it teeming with travelers, soldiers, and merchants. All have come for a spectacle unprecedented in this remote province: an eclipse of the sun commanded by the Emperor himself. When a Jesuit astronomer is found murdered in the home of the local magistrate, blame is hastily placed on Tibetan bandits. But Li Du suspects this was no random killing. Everyone has secrets: the ambitious magistrate, the powerful consort, the bitter servant, the irreproachable secretary, the East India Company merchant, the nervous missionary, and the traveling storyteller who can't keep his own story straight. Beyond the sloping roofs and festival banners, Li Du can see the mountain pass that will take him out of China forever. He must choose whether to leave, and embrace his exile, or to stay, and investigate a murder that the town of Dayan seems all too willing to forget" -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Minotaur Books, 2016.
Edition: First Minotaur Books paperback edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781250072337
Characteristics: 362 pages ; 25 cm

Related Resources


From Library Staff

In early 18th Century China, Li Du is a librarian exiled from the Qing court. In his wanderings, he finds himself in the frontier city of Dayan (now Lijiang) just days before the Emperor is due to arrive. The East India Company is also there, eager to gain a foothold in a China that has rejected ... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 30, 2019

An excellent debut novel, well worth reading. It took several chapters to get me fully involved, but was worth it. Google photos of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to get an idea of the area.

May 22, 2019

Oh, gosh...I was going to quit three-quarters of the way through. Story just kind of drags along. I finished. I'd give it a 5 out of 10. Something to read if you're bored.

Nov 06, 2018

mbtb star

May 15, 2018

Hart has written an intriguing mystery but it’s the deft interweaving of Chinese culture—poetry, art, and even tea—into the tale that has depth. Gorgeously written and full of surprises, Elsa Hart delivers a book laced with magical tales, a nefarious murder, and engaging characters all dwelling deep within the historical backdrop of 18th century China. "Jade Dragon Mountain" is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed.

Mar 29, 2018

I might have chosen this book, featuring an enigmatic Li Du, for its beautiful cover or because favorite mystery writers Donna Leon and Louise Penny wrote such positive cover blurbs. The debut novel in a mystery series, it is a Chinese tale set in the eighteenth century.

Very atmospheric with aspects of historic fiction and mysteries that will surprise you to the last page. Hart has written two more that I’ll be adding to my reading list.

Mar 21, 2017

Li Du is the former imperial librarian who has been exiled and has wandered through China for several years. His story places us on the Tibetan border in the year 1708 on the eve of a solar eclipse. In this richly told tale, we learn of a murder and layers of intrigue involving a fascinating cast of characters including Jesuits, the East India Company bearing treasures for the emperor, a fluid tongued story teller and many more. The book is very well written and paced and holds one surprise after another for the reader. I look forward to reading other books by this author.

Mar 11, 2017

Engaging, well-written historical style fiction. I very much enjoyed Lisa Hart's first novel, as well as her writing style, and look forward to her next book.

Dec 11, 2016

Time for tea and tales of murder! Jade Dragon Mountain is about an exiled librarian, Li Du, who passes through Dayan around the time of the infamous eclipse. The story slowly builds on the elements that come to focus on the murder of an astronomer. replete with poison, traditions, Jesuits, librarians, foreign merchants...... all of the components of a Chinese Agatha Christie whodunnit.

Dec 14, 2015

I really enjoyed this mystery a lot and hope it might possibly be the first in a series. Li Du is a great impromptu detective--he has shades of Sherlock and Poirot in him. (He's also a librarian, which pleases me to no end!) Author Elsa Hart is a beautiful writer who captured that distant corner of China in vivid, jewel-toned imagery. It was an engaging read all-around. I highly recommend it.

Oct 27, 2015

What do you do when your archaeologist husband is busy on a dig on Jade Dragon Mountain? You submerge yourself in the culture he's digging up and write a mystery, of course. Fortunately, Elsa Hart is adept at weaving strands of culture, history, and characters into a mystery that keeps us interested even after the mystery is solved and some of the loose ends are as interesting as the mystery.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top