The severed head in the bamboo birdcage swayed above the teeming marketplace. It told Constable Mike Gallagher everything he needed to know about Shanghai.
It’s 1927. The son of a rural Irish cop, Gallagher joins the Shanghai Municipal Police. to escape an Ireland crippled by its recent bitter independence fight, and to trace the aristocratic woman whose memory still haunts him. They would venture together to China, Fiona once promised. Then the IRA torched her family estate. Everybody believes she died there. Everybody but Mike Gallagher.
Shanghai. Pearl of the East or Whore of the Orient? Depends on who you ask. It’s a cesspool of poverty, thronged with refugees, gripped by civil war. But for some it’s still a fever dream: jazz clubs and opium dens, celebrities and spies, easy money and easier women. Gallagher encounters the city’s biggest philanthropist, a man called Big Ears Lu – who is also its creepiest racketeer. He falls for a hooker who gives him sex he never imagined. But does his collusion with Lu keep her trapped in the House of Multiple Joys? Shanghai in 1927 is a city where after dark anything seems possible. A city where anyone can be crushed, and anyone corrupted. Even an innocent Irish cop.