Quick Study: Under the guise of Master Chen, journalist Dmitry Kosyrev writes historical spy novels set in Asia, often working in elements of jazz, love, and politics.
The Master Chen File: The work of Dmitry Kosyrev, a.k.a. Master Chen, draws on Kosyrev’s deep interest in Asian history and his experiences living in the region: Master Chen sets his historical espionage detective novels in locations like British Malaya and ancient China. His 2012 novel, The Taster, is set in contemporary Europe and Russia, building on another of Kosyrev’s interests—wine—as it tells the story of a poisoned wine taster. Kosyrev began his career as a journalist and has written, primarily about Asia, for such publications as Pravda, Independent Newspaper, and New Newspaper. He also occasionally writes about wines, food, and cigars.
Psssst………: Master Chen says he loves to eat and cook, calling Indian food a “holiday” (he especially enjoys the breads) and saying he sees Chinese food as “everyday” food (he especially enjoys southern food with shellfish). He says he became interested in Mediterranean food while working on Pet Foal of the House of Manyakh, set in Constantinople.
Master Chen’s Places: Born in Moscow. Studied in Singapore. Has also lived in Malaysia and the Philippines.
The Word on Master Chen: Critic Maya Kucherskaya wrote of Amalia and the White Apparition that “this cultured, atmospheric, and enlightening detective novel is likely to widen Chen’s already sizeable circle of fans.” Kucherskaya praises Master Chen’s ability to conjure up a world in colonial Asia with ocean waves, jazz, good cigars, and jasmine garlands.
Master Chen on Master Chen: In a discussion on Radio Svoboda, Dmitry Kosyrev said he writes as a journalist using his real name and uses the pseudonym Master Chen for his fiction so readers don’t mix up his writing.
On Writing: Master Chen says he writes about the mistakes, failures, and difficult situations of nonprofessional spies.
Master Chen Recommends: Master Chen says he enjoys reading China Miéville and Salman Rushdie. As for countries, he particularly loves Thailand and Malaysia, which he calls “the whole world in miniature,” a cozy country.