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Elsa Hart Books In Order

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Publication Order of Li Du Books

Jade Dragon Mountain (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The White Mirror (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
City of Ink (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Elsa Hart is one of the upcoming and famous authors from America, who is fond of writing novels based on the historical mystery genre. She is particularly popular for writing the novels of the Li Du series. Author Elsa was born in Rome, Italy. However, she did not spend much time in Rome. Rather, author Elsa lived in a number of places all over the world. The earliest memories that she has are of Moscow. She lived there along with her family until the year 1991. After that, author Elsa got the chance to live in places like The United States, China, and the Czech Republic. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Swarthmore College and also a J.D from the Washington University’s St. Louis Law School. The first book that author Elsa wrote is set in Lijiang. This city was previously known by the name Dayan. She says that she received the inspiration for writing her debut novel after reading numerous books of Agatha Christie and learning about the ancient history of the Tea Horse Road of Tibet-China. While writing the book, titled Jade Dragon Mountain, author Elsa was quite ambitious. According to her, this interesting book is set in the southwest China during the time of the year 1708. It depicts a twisting tale of a historical murder mystery featuring a compelling detective in the role of Li Du. Author Elsa has introduced Li Du as a nomadic scholar and librarian.

After getting exiled from the city of Beijing for getting associated with the enemies of the emperor, he decides to move to Dayan. This city is described as being located on the outskirts of Tibet. The city of Dayan, now Lijiang, nests under the presence of the snow mountain of Jade Dragon, which is always tipped in white. Li Du’s cousin works as a magistrate in the city. When the emperor decides to pay a visit to Dayan in order to honor of the upcoming eclipse, the city begins to prepare for his welcome. In the midst of the preparation, a Jesuit astronomer is discovered dead. When Li Du takes a look into the matter, he suspects some foul play. Therefore, he decides to assist his cousin in carrying out the investigation and help catch the killer. But soon, he ends up putting his own life in danger. Author Elsa has stayed in the Dayan city for a period 3 years along with her husband. During this time only she gained the inspiration for writing the book. Author Elsa proudly says that she is deeply rooted to his exciting place and considers herself lucky to have come up with the idea of writing this historical mystery book. The first time that Elsa visited Lijiang was during the summer season of the year 2010. At that time, she had just completed the 2nd year of her law school. She had followed her husband over there, who was conducting some botanical fieldwork. During the first month of her stay in Lijiang, author Elsa tried to learn the Mandarin language through a university program in Kumming. Elsa and her husband rented a room in Dayan. Later, they came to know that many buildings in the locality were completely destroyed due to the 1996 earthquake. Afterwards, a decision was made to rebuild the city in a traditional style. This helped the city to turn into a major tourist destination for the Chinese tourists. The historical environment of Lijiang inspired author Elsa to research about its real history and, thereby, she came up with the excellent story of the librarian detective named Li Du.

The first book written by Elsa Hart as a part of the Li Du series is titled as ‘Jade Dragon Mountain’. The Minotaur publication published this book in the year 2015. In the initial sequence of the book, author Elsa has introduced Li Du as an imperial librarian. He gets exiled and moves to Dayan, which is situated on the border of Tibet and China. When he reaches, he gets surprised by seeing the visiting travelers, merchants, and soldiers. All of them seem to have arrived there to witness the solar eclipse that was commanded by the rich emperor. Soon, the situation turns into an ugly shock when an astronomer gets murdered in a local magistrate’s home. Immediately, the blame is placed on the bandits of Tibet. However, Li Du does not see it as a random killing. Later, his investigations allow him to learn that everyone in the city is keeping secrets, including the bitter servant, powerful consort, merchants of the East India Company, the storyteller, the magistrate, and the missionary. Li Du sees the mountain pass beyond the festival banners and sloping roofs. Through that pass, he can move out of China, but he must first decide whether to stay or leave. If he stays, he can investigate the matter in a more proper way and help solve the murder mystery that Lijiang seems to be very much willing to let go unsolved.

The next book written by Elsa is titled as ‘The White Mirror’. It was published in 2016. Author Elsa begins this book by showing that Li Du has become an independent traveler. Along with one of the trade caravans, he journeys to Lhasa. But instead, he gets taken to a valley located between mountains. Li Du sees an old monk sitting in contemplation on a woode bridge. When he takes a closer, he finds that the monk is dead. At first, it appears that he had died due to self-inflicted wounds. Li Du discovers a strange symbol imprinted on the monk’s chest. Soon, stormy begins to fall and the caravan is forced to take shelter at a local lord. While waiting patiently for the passing of the storm, Li Du discovers that the monk was a skillful painter. The family of the local lord tells him that the death of the monk was not a surprise because he was quite obsessed with the worldly demon. But, Li Du feels that things are not as they seem to be. He gets to experience a few strange things during his travel to the valley, which make his belief even more suspicious. Due to the unhealthy climate, secretive surrounding, and the unexplained grief haunting the manor, Li Du is not able to leave the things that he wants to forget behind. Eventually, he goes on to establish the fact that the monk was murdered and finds the person responsible for it.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Elsa Hart

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