Liu Yongbiao

He feels “relieved” to be arrested now, in fact, to “finally be free from the mental torment” of knowing the day might come. He doesn’t dispute, after all, that he killed four people years ago, for nothing more than the worth of their measly possessions.

He’s always known those murders might come home to roost. As far as being “free from mental torment,” I must say that being in chains, and in prison, and facing God knows what from Chinese justice, might bring it’s own torment. But who wants to be picky about expressions of emotions, at times like these?

That modern miracle of forensics, DNA, cracked the twenty-two year old case. Liu Yongbiao had foolishly dropped a cigarette butt at the scene. Shouldn’t a professional writer of murder mysteries have known better? But remember, this was in 1995.

Yes, Liu writes fiction about murder, but Liu wasn’t even writing mysteries then. If he had, with the popularity he’s achieved in recent years, he would already have been comfortable financially. He would not have felt tempted to kill for petty robbery.

Think John Grisham or Michael Connelly or Patricia Cornwell, in our part of the world, arrested for murder committed in their younger days, a plot right out of one of their novels.

Liu, in fact, had a new story in the works, “The Beautiful Writer Who Killed.” It’s about a female author of crime novels, guilty of her own murders in the past, who somehow continues to escape justice.

Wishful thinking, Liu?