The Emperor's Pearl. A Chinese Detective Story - Robert H. Van Gulik 1963 - Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York - First American Edition The eighth book in the Judge Dee series, and chronologically fifteenth tale, being set in China 669 AD.

With eight illustrations, a plan of Mr Kou’s library, and orange coated endpapers illustrated in white showing the Poo-yang Dragon Boat race in progress, all from Chinese style woodblocks prints by Van Gulik.

The time is 699 A.D. The place is Poo-yang. Here Judge Dee, imperial magistrate, must investigate two deaths: the collapse of a young drummer in the annual dragon-boat race and the murder of a woman in a deserted country estate. The mystery involves the cruel River Goddess, and the legendary Emperor's pearl, as well as a wealthy merchant's lovely, mute, mad wife.
  Dr. Robert Hans Van Gulik (1910-67) got his Ph.D. in Oriental languages at the age of 24, knew fluently about fifteen languages, produced a vast body of sometimes groundbreaking scholarly works on (mainly) Chinese culture, achieved a high proficiency in Chinese calligraphy and in playing the Chinese lute, very much like a mandarin of old times. His collection of Chinese artifacts and rare books merited a specific sale at Christie’s in 1983. Whilst doing all this he rose to become Netherlands ambassador to Japan before retiring, with his pet gibbon.

pp. [4] 184 [4]. In publisher’s straw coloured cloth, titled to spine in black, and with small dragon head in black to front panel. Dust jacket priced $3.50 to front flap.
  Condition: Fine in very good dust jacket with small patch of rubbing to lower spine and 1.5x1.5cm area of abrasion to rear panel   Ref: 107618   Price: HK$ 1,200