Sinners and the City

Astunning blonde is handcuffed to the brass bed, dead and covered in blood. Her face is contorted into a permanent scream. She's Russian. It's the boiling Shanghai summer of 1926. And a glance at a family portrait in her International Settlement apartment reveals the victim is an aristocratic ingenue—a refugee from the Bolsheviks fending for herself in a city where everyone is on the run and has something to hide. "Never ask anyone in Shanghai about their past," explains the detective on the case. "Especially not a lady."

Tom Bradby's nimble crime novel The Master of Rain (Bantam...

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