The best of the Tintin stories so far (I'm reading and rating them in order of publication): Hergé has really hit his stride with The Blue Lotus.Nicely plotted with lots of intrigue to which we, the reader, are more privy than Tintin. An interesting device to increase narrative tension: "No, Tintin - don't trust him!"Hergé, it seems, seeks to atone for his previously less than flattering representation of non-European cultures by rather heavy-handedly debunking some then-prevalent stereotypes of Chinese culture. However, it's well-intentioned and forgiveable. The depiction of his Chinese characters is sympathetic, and they are contrasted most favourably against the corrupt Western Chief-of-Police and the brutally racist and vindictive American businessman. However, there's still a touch of "demonising" in his treatment of his Japanese characters.The Blue Lotus is more firmly rooted in the real world than the previous stories, drawing upon actual events and the political situation between China and Japan in the early 1930s, adding depth to what is, after all, a children's story (but an increasingly intelligent one).The prat-falling Thomson and Thompson are again the main comic relief.