The Pool of Unease – Reviews

‘Taken as crime fiction, Sampson’s third novel is original, fast paced and clever: taken as a beginner’s guide to the enigma that is modern China, this is an outstandingly interesting description of life in Beijing from two utterly different angles . We see the busy, baffling society from the viewpoint of a Marlowe-style Chinese private eye, an honest, cussed altruist who deals equally with paupers and millionaires… In alternate chapters we follow a British woman journalist from ‘the corporation’ who endangers others through her naivety about what can and can’t be done in a police state The author lives in Beijing and was The Times correspondent there, so her own experience lends authority to a gripping mystery.’

The Literary Review

‘Sampson’s storytelling is fluent and compelling and her characterisation rewarding…. The Pool of Unease is wonderfully atmospheric and evocative….’

– Cath Staincliffe at Tangled Web

‘An intricate mystery’

The Sunday Telegraph

“This gripping thriller… is an enjoyable whodunit, worth reading as much for its intriguing picture of today’s burgeoning superpower as for the detective trail.”

– Gerald Kaufman, The Scotsman

‘A chilling thriller that will definitely make your blood run cold…’

First Magazine

‘She allows the plot to breathe and gather momentum, creating a story that swims with imagination whilst also providing an intriguing window on a city and its people that are being forced to adjust rapidly to change. An ice-hot thriller to devour with your chow mein.’

– Paul W Smith at

‘This is a fine thriller, in an unusual setting, and written by somebody who knows what she is talking about’.

– Judith Rhodes at Tangled Web

‘Oh, this is quite a story… The characters are all rounded, alive in your mind as you read… it’s the picture of a small boy sent to the city with his sister to earn some money who then sees his sister murdered that stays with me. It’s a book that stays in your mind long after you’ve finished reading.’

– Sue Magee at