Books are Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong and A Pedant in the Kitchen by Julian Barnes.
Death of a Red Heroine, Qiu Xiaolong: Set a decade ago in Shanghai, this political mystery offers a peek into the tightly sealed, often crooked world of post-Tiananmen Square China. Chen Cao, a poet and T.S. Eliot translator bureaucratically assigned to be chief inspector, has to investigate the murder of Guan Hongying, a young woman celebrated as a National Model Worker, but who kept her personal life strictly and mysteriously confidential.
A Pedant in the Kitchen, Julian Barnes: The Pedant's ambition is simple. He wants to cook tasty, nutritious food; he wants not to poison his friends; and he wants to expand, slowly and with pleasure, his culinary repertoire. This book is a witty and practical account of Julian Barnes' search for gastronomic precision. It is a quest that leaves him seduced by Jane Grigson, infuriated by Nigel Slater; charmed by the recipes of Edouard de Pomiane; and reassured by Mrs Beeton's Victorian virtues. The Pedant in the Kitchen is a perfect comfort for anyone who has ever been defeated by a cookbook.