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Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Whispering Shadows

Part of the Rising Dragon Series
Literary Fiction   Crime / Mystery   Literary Fiction   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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A 2016 World Book Night selection.

‘Whispering Shadows’ may be classed as a murder mystery, however it is one with true heart and soul, and is a sincerely beautiful read. The first in a trilogy, Jan-Philipp Sendker has departed from the format of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and A Well-Tempered Heart, yet the enticing mix of East and West again weaves its magic touch. Paul Leibovitz has spent 30 years living in Hong Kong, he has experienced tragedy and has cut himself off from the rest of the world; a chance meeting sets him on a collision course with his feelings, his past and a possible future. Sendker obviously has a profound connection with China, his writing not only allows you to open your eyes in a different land, but also to feel, to touch, to think with consideration and compassion. Ranging from delicate and thoughtful to commanding and persuasive ensures this a convincing and fascinating read. ~ Liz Robinson

If you like Jan-Philipp Sendker you might also like to read books by Corban Addison.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sarah Tilley - 'A fascinating read and very well written... I was completely absorbed.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I really enjoyed the setting of the book and the author writes so beautifully even if he is describing Paul's friend Zhang preparing a meal or the hustle and bustle of travelling in the area , you really feel like you are there and I loved that!'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'An unusually sad yet ultimately compelling start to this book almost put me off reading on but it ultimately turned into one of the best I’ve read in recent years.'
  • Emma Barton - 'This is an interesting book giving a real insight into how industry and commerce work in modern day China and how the past still haunts many people.'
  • Judith Smith - 'This is a compelling, page turning story, not to be missed.'
  • Joan Sidwell - 'Whispering Shadows is a brilliant book, beautifully written with a gripping narrative...A mystery, a thriller, a travelogue, but also, and very importantly, a book about love, friendship, trust, hope and redemption, this book encompasses everything you could want.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'If you like intriguing plots, engaging characters, real-life issues, and the emotional turmoil of losing a loved one, all wrapped up into a (small ‘p’) political drama, this one is very definitely for you.'
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'The story has equal parts crime thriller, romance and view of China's Cultural Revolution, this novel is at heart, a story about the burden of survival. It packs a punch.' 
  • Jo-anne Atkinson - 'Masterful fusion of emotional turmoil and exciting thriller....  Sendker is a truly talented writer and this book is haunting in so many ways.'
  • Catherine Bryce - 'A gripping novel covering various writing genres which keeps your attention to the very last page.'
  • Linda Hill - 'A novel of intrigue and trust set in a post revolutionary China.'
  • Sue Broom - 'A fascinating setting, vividly described, with intriguing insights into China’s rapid change over recent decades... I thoroughly enjoyed my fleeting immersion into a very foreign culture.'
  • Tracey Poulter - 'This beautifully written novel is not simply a murder mystery story as it delves into the meaning of love and friendship, forgiveness and redemption, secrets and lies.'


Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Paul Leibovitz was once an ambitious advisor, dedicated father, and loving husband. But after living for nearly thirty years in Hong Kong, personal tragedy strikes and Paul's marriage unravels in the fallout. When he makes a fleeting connection with Elizabeth, a distressed American woman on the verge of collapse, his life is thrown into turmoil. Less than twenty-four hours later, Elizabeth's son is found dead in Shenzhen, and Paul, invigorated by a newfound purpose, sets out to investigate the murder on his own. As Paul, Elizabeth, and a detective friend descend deeper into the Shenzhen underworld they discover dark secrets hidden beneath China's booming new wealth. In a country where rich businessmen with expensive degrees can corrupt the judicial system, the potential for evil abounds.


'An absorbing mystery set in a Hong Kong tourists only glimpse - the dark underside of a money-making beehive trying to find its place in a cynically corrupt new China. Vivid and knowing' - Joseph Kanon, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Berlin

'A stunning mystery in which a twisted murder investigation pulls back the curtain on a country whose culture and history have been shaped as much by Western capitalism as its own communism. Whispering Shadows is a thoughtful, moving, and profoundly revelatory read
- Attica Locke, author of Black Water Rising, a finalist for the Orange Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Awards

About the Author

Jan-Philipp Sendker

Jan-Philipp Sendker lives in Berlin with his family. He was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, his first novel, was an international bestseller, and he’s the author of A Well- Tempered Heart, Whispering Shadows and its sequel Dragon Games. He is currently at work on the third novel set in Hong Kong.

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Book Info

Publication date

25th June 2015


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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


330 pages


Literary Fiction
Crime / Mystery
Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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