The Emperor's Pearl. A Chinese Detective Story - Robert H. Van Gulik 1963 - Heinemann, London - First 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 endpapers showing the Poo-yang Dragon Boat race in progress, all from Chinese style woodblock 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.
  Van Gulik got his PhD degree 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 artefacts 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.

Octavo (18.7 x 12.8 cm) pp. 184. Postscript printed to verso of rear free endpaper. Publisher’s dark blue cloth lettered in gilt to spine. Dust jacket priced ‘13s 6d NET’ to lower corner of front flap.
  Condition: Small patch of abrasion to front free endpaper else fine in near fine dust jacket, light rubbing to edges, short closed tear to tail of spine, with corresponding archival tape to verso.   Ref: 108912   Price: HK$ 2,800