Shanghai Secrets (Rowland Sinclair WWII Mysteries 9)

Written by Sulari Gentill
Review by Ellen Jaquette

It’s 1935, and Rowland Sinclair is off to Shanghai to represent his family wool business in trade negotiations. What started as an international adventure soon turns sinister, as Rowland finds himself ensnarled in a murder investigation when he discovers Russian expatriate Alexandra Romanova dead in his hotel suite. With the help of his fellow Australian artists Edna, Clyde, and Milton, the four embark on their own investigation into Alexandra’s death, roping in local friends such as their translator Zau and driver Singh as the stakes rise.

Gentill takes the reader on a whirlwind mystery set in diverse and cosmopolitan pre-WWII Shanghai. This Shanghai is a tinderbox and an excellent setting: it’s filled with diverse and interesting characters from all over the world, but conflict looms due to Japanese occupation to the north as well as Nazis residing in the international community. While the setting shines, the story is also enjoyable and fast-paced, as Rowland’s countless fights and journeys to questionable settings add even more mystery. Ultimately, the large cast of memorable characters and the details of this city and the explosive political landscape create an intriguing and highly readable mystery. This title is the ninth in the Rowland Sinclair series but can serve as a fun standalone for readers wanting to dive right in.