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Early in his occupation, pass judgement on Dee visits a senior Justice of the Peace who exhibits him a stunning lacquer display on which a scene of enthusiasts has been mysteriously altered to teach the guy stabbing his lover. The Justice of the Peace fears he's wasting his brain and may homicide his personal spouse. in the meantime, a banker has inexplicably killed himself, and a beautiful girl has allowed Dee's lieutenant, Chiao Tai, to think she is a courtesan. Dee and Chiao Tai move incognito between a gang of robbers to unravel this secret, and locate the chief of the robbers is extra honorable than the magistrate.

"One of the main satisfyingly devious of the pass judgement on Dee novels, with strange old richness in its portrayal of the China of the T'ang dynasty."-—New York instances booklet Review

"Even pass judgement on Dee is baffled by means of Robert van Gulik's new mysteries in The Lacquer Screen. Disguised as a petty criminal, he spends a number of precarious days within the headquarters of the underworld, hobnobbing with the robber king. Dee's energetic thieving acquaintances provide a few important clues to this unusual and interesting jigsaw."-—The Spectator

"So scrupulously within the vintage chinese language demeanour but so well outfitted with every thing to meet the fashionable reader."-—New York Times

Robert Van Gulik (1910-67) used to be a Dutch diplomat and an expert on chinese language heritage and tradition. He drew his plots from the entire physique of chinese language literature, in particular from the preferred detective novels that first seemed within the 17th century.

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Need to be, because you stayed with the Butcher. placed a string of coppers in our pool, and also you are welcome to stick with us right here. ' pass judgement on Dee took a string from his sleeve. The Corporal threw it around the taproom to the bald guy, who stuck it dexterously. ' we wish to stick the following a couple of days,' the pass judgement on acknowledged, ' until the hue and cry has died down, in an effort to converse. ' 'That's settled then,' the Corporal stated. He shouted on the lady : ' Come over right here, Carnation ! Meet new lodgers I ' As she got here to the desk the Corporal positioned his arm around her waist and stated to the pass judgement on : ' this can be our housekeeper. She is an ex-professional, yet nonetheless nearly as good as new, eh, Carnation ? these days she in basic terms walks the road if she wishes a brand new gown or so, amateur-like. I proportion her with Baldy, simply because he's my quantity , you notice, and because we proportion the money too. ' He regarded thoughtfully on the pass judgement on, then requested all of sudden : ' are you able to learn and write? ' As pass judgement on Dee nodded he went on with enthusiasm : ' Why do not you remain the following longer, brother? you could have a room upstairs, drink down the following, and should you get bothered by means of your human nature, i do not brain you taking Carnation via her paces, at times. do not glance go now, my wench, you will get acquainted with that beard ! ' He pinched the pouting woman, then went on : ' you do not know the brain-work i must do the following, brother ! i've got greater than seventy beggars and vagabonds operating less than me, they usually come the following any other evening for the reckoning. Twenty in line with cent for me, ten for Baldy, and ten for the home. And, being no guy of letters, i must determine all of it out with dots and crosses ! That pupil there may well support me, simply the lads don't have it, they do not belief him but. i would allow you to begin at 5 in step with cent, and what you earn your self is tax-free. converse up, is it a deal? ' 'It's a beneficiant offer,' the pass judgement on spoke back, 'but i believe i would higher go on once i will be able to. i do not carry with homicide, you recognize. ' The Corporal driven the woman away. placing his huge fists on his knees he requested tensely: 'Murder, you are saying? the place? ' ' I heard a guy on the marketplace say that there is a murdered lady mendacity within the marsh. My mate and that i do simply theft. we discover it will pay larger, in the end. homicide continually capacity difficulty. enormous hassle. ' ' Baldy ! ' bellowed the Corporal. And, because the bald guy got here operating: '"Why did not you report back to me that there is a murdered girl mendacity round, eh? Who did it? ' ' i do not understand not anything a couple of murdered lady, boss, I swear it ! ' the bald guy whined. ' no one instructed me approximately it! ' ' Shall i'm going in the market and spot even if it is precise? ' the pass judgement on requested. 'It would not be you who slit her throat, wouldn't it now? ' the Corporal requested threateningly. ' could i'm going again there if I had performed it ? ' pass judgement on Dee requested with scorn. ' No, you would not, I suppose,' the Corporal muttered. He rubbed his low, corrugated brow, taking a look morosely at his wine-cup. The pass judgement on obtained up and stated: ' provide me a guy to take me there through the again streets, and i'm going to take a look. do not forget that i have been a headman, i do know all approximately lifeless our bodies.

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