The Lacquer Screen: A Chinese Detective Story - Robert van GulikLondon: Heinemann, 1964, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Good+ — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. Plain paper dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with a little loss to the spine ends. Front flap has a plain paper reinforcement to the verso and the rear flap has been trimmed. Leans. Edges of the text block heavily spotted. Previous owners' name to the first blank. Tape remnants to the blanks and pastedowns. Hinges weak around the title page. .
Contains: Black & white drawings; Illustrated endpapers and blanks;
From the cover: “Dr van Gulik’s latest Chinese detective story takes us back to the beginning of Judge Dee’s career, when that brilliant detective was serving in his first post, as magistrate of Peng-lai in Shantung Province. One year after he had solved there the mysterious Gold Murders, the judge and his lieutenant Chiao Tai had to travel to the Prefecture. On the way back they broke their journey in the district of Wei-ping, and there the bearded judge was confronted with the three baffling cases related here — cases whose strangeness is unsurpassed by any he solved during the whole of his long career.
The local magistrate requests Judge Dee’s help in settling a most unusual murder problem, and this in turn involves him in two other complicated criminal investigations. In order to solve these three riddles Judge Dee and Chiao Tai establish themselves incognito in the underworld of Wei-ping, and for two tense days and nights they share the life of the ribald gangster-boss and Carnation, his pert mistress. With her Judge Dee has an uneasy private session, while his brawny lieutenant conducts an amorous adventure with quite another kind of lady.
Unwittingly the people of the underworld assist the judge in his inquiries, enabling him to bring the guilty ones to trial. Then, abruptly, the pattern of evidence changes, calling for an entirely new interpretation of the situation. It is only in the last, dramatic scene that the judge is finally able to reveal the ugly secret hidden by the four exquisite panels of The Lacquer Screen.”