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The Master of Rain


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ISBN 10: 0385503970 / ISBN 13: 9780385503976
Published by Doubleday & Company, New York, 2002
Soft cover
From Main Street Fine Books & Mss, ABAA (Galena, IL, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Small 4to. Stiff glazed pictorial wrappers. 437pp. Very good. Faint wear to outer wrappers (only); internally fine. A tight and quite lovely advance reading copy of this author's first book, handsomely signed and inscribed by the author in black fineline on the title page: "Dear Mark / Great to meet you / All the very best / Tom." Described as "A hypnotic, noir evocation of Shanghai in the 1920s. a tale of murder and intrigue.". Bookseller Inventory # 35480

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Master of Rain

Publisher: Doubleday & Company, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Paperback

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Shanghai, 1926. A city glistening with decadence and rife with corruption--a humid, bustling society at the cultural crossroads of British civil servants, American gun runners, Russian princesses, and Chinese gangsters.

For Richard Field, a young Englishman new to the international police force, Shanghai represents a brave new world away from the past he is trying to escape. But his naiveté is quickly dashed when he is called to the scene of a brutal crime, in which a young Russian woman, Lena Orlov, has been found sadistically murdered in her bed. Field's idealistic instincts push him to investigate the case, but his attempts are met with apathy--then menace--from his colleagues. He begins to recognize that some cases in Shanghai are intended to remain unsolved, and, in a matter of days, he glimpses the murky depths that lurk beneath a luminous city.

Field's drive to find the murderer leads him to Lena's neighbor, Natasha Medvedev. A stunning beauty who fled her charmed life in tsarist Russia, Natasha escaped the Revolution but landed, like many of her counterparts, in a treacherous life in Shanghai. Natasha travels in an elite circle--one that orbits, Field knows, around the city’s most feared drug lord, Lu Huang. As his attraction to the beguiling Natasha grows, he is faced with a piercing question: can he trust someone whose only goal is self-preservation? And is it wise to fall in love with a woman who may herself be the next victim?

Trusting only his Chicago-hardened American partner, Caprisi, Field follows leads that run into the heart of a lawlessly corrupt city, slowly uncovering a web of deception that will leave him reeling.

In The Master of Rain, Tom Bradby weaves a taut, atmospheric crime novel that doles out surprising turns until the last suspenseful page.


Tom Bradby's third novel (though his first to be published in the U.S.) is a feverish work of historical noir, a labyrinthine thriller set in a vicious world where everyone--as in Bogart's Casablanca--has a reason for hiding. The year is 1926; the city is Shanghai, a swamp of organized crime, corruption, turf wars between British intelligence and street-level law enforcement, Communist sympathizers, and East European refugees from Bolshevik atrocities. Into this sweltering, cutthroat port city steps Richard Field, an idealistic policeman from Yorkshire looking to distance himself from a painful past. Ill-suited to Shanghai's heat and shocking violence, Field nevertheless throws himself into investigating the grisly murder of a Russian prostitute, the latest in a line of dead women who lived in the orbit of a powerful Chinese mobster. Slowed by official roadblocks, Field learns that the only man in his department he can trust is a tough Chicago detective, Caprisi, a touchstone of sanity even as Field loses his rookie head over another doomed Russian call girl.

Bradby, a seasoned correspondent for Britain's ITN television network, has obviously spent considerable time researching 1920s Shanghai. His feel for the city's Byzantine society and exotic textures is matched by his accessible vision of Shanghai as a junction of international fallout and internal intrigue. Less compelling, if not outright distracting, is Bradby's more contemporary emphasis on ghastly serial killings with a sex-crime edge. But in the end, the book's remarkable prose and density of experience are uniquely rewarding. --Tom Keogh

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Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts has been buying and selling quality books, autographs and ephemera since 1991. We specialize in general antiquarian, first editions, signed books and autographs and documents. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA), Midwest Antiquarian Booksellers Association (MWABA), Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC) and The Manuscript Society.

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