Title: All the Tears in China
Author: Sulari Gentill
Published: January 21st 2019
Publisher: Pantera Press
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Historical, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
Shanghai in 1935 is a twentieth-century Babylon, an expatriate playground where fortunes are made and lost, where East and West collide, and the stakes include life itself.
Into this, Rowland Sinclair arrives from Sydney to represent his brother at international wool negotiations. Rowland is under strict instructions to commit to nothing… but a brutal murder makes that impossible.
As suspicion falls on him, Rowland enters a desperate bid to find answers in a city as glitzy as it is dangerous, where tai-pans and tycoons rule, and politics and vice are entwined with commerce.
Once again, the only people Rowland can truly trust are an artist, a poet and a free-spirited sculptress.
Sulari Gentill is an award winning author of the best selling Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, which All the Tears in China is book nine of this well received series. It was interesting to note that Gentill also writes under the name of S.D. Gentill, as a fantasy genre based author. I fully intended on reading the first novel in this series, A Few Right Thinking Men, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book. However, time got away with me and I found myself reading the latest and the ninth book in this established series. I enjoyed All the Tears in China and for this reason I do not feel that it is necessary to read the previous books in the series to appreciate this novel.
I have had my eye on this series and author for some time. I adore detective crime mystery style books, particularly period pieces, and I was keen on delving into the world of Rowland Sinclair. I had expectations of Rowland being a little like a female Phryne Fisher from Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher series. Although I won’t be able to commit to reading all the previous books in this established series very soon, I am interested in exploring more of Sulari Gentill’s writing, in particular her standalone metafiction novel, Crossing the Lines.
As a newcomer to this series, I did not feel out of the loop. I would prefer to have read the previous books in the series, as I think it would have enhanced my reading experience of All the Tears in China. However, if you are in a similar position to me and time poor, I would happily recommend All the Tears in China to fans of historical fiction, crime, mystery and detective based books.
Rowland is an enigmatic lead and he has such a great page presence. I enjoyed the banter between Rowland and his little gang, I think Gentill has great characterisation skills. Likewise, the sub characters that feature in this novel are rendered well.
In terms of setting, Gentill has nailed it. I appreciated the colour and world of 1935 Shanghai. All the Tears in China features a nicely layered and vivid setting. Gentill accurately portrays the period details of the specific locale, along with the moral thinking and social consciousness of the population at this time. Adding the newspaper and magazine extracts to the opening of each chapter was a bonus side piece that I came to look forward to on each turn of the page. It was my favourite part of the book.
I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of All the Tears in China. My interest was piqued by the mention of a possible connection to the late Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia, who had unclear links to the victim of this tale. Moving alongside this aspect of the case, is the emphasis on the uprising of the Fascists, Nazis and other extreme political groups. Gentill really works at setting up the incoming storm of World War II, which is just a stone’s throw away.
All the Tears in China is a thoroughly entertaining read. With a winning combination of history, intrigue, colourful characters and a perplexing mystery to solve, All the Tears in China is a book that has broad appeal. I am happy to give this book my full endorsement.
All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill was published on 21st January 2019 by Pantera Press. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of All the Tears in China, Sulari Gentill, visit here.
*Please note that a free copy of this book was provided to me for review purposes through Beauty & Lace and Pantera Press. To read the original review on the Beauty & Lace website please visit here.
All the Tears in China is book #40 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge