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Mystery Book Discussion

By Maria Levetzow

Saturday, March 10, 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Join us for a discussion of The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison, facilitated by mystery book discussion group member Mary Daniels.  Not many political thrillers are set in Tibet, and few can match the power and poetry of this debut novel by journalist Eliot Pattison. At the heart of the story is a forced labor camp where the Chinese imprison Buddhist monks and other local dissidents they've swept up since taking over Tibet. The prison also holds a few special Chinese prisoners--including Shan Tao Yun. This middle-aged man was once the inspector general of the Ministry of Economy in Beijing, specializing in fraud cases. For reasons even he doesn't understand, he has been imprisoned and brutalized, and now he spends his days breaking rocks high in the Himalayas on a road crew called the People's 404th Construction Brigade. Shan manages to survive under these harsh conditions thanks to the spiritual guidance of his fellow prisoners, but this precarious balance is threatened by the discovery of the headless body of a local Chinese official near a road construction site. ( review)

 Books are available for loan on a first-come basis at the previous month's discussion and after that at the Information Desk. This program is funded by the Friends of the Bettendorf Public Library.