The Red Pavilion (Judge Dee Mysteries, Book 8)
Robert Van Gulik
A chance encounter with Autumn Moon, the most powerful courtesan on Paradise Island, leads Judge Dee to investigate three deaths. Although he finally teases the true story from a tangled history of passion and betrayal, Dee is saddened by the perversion, corruption, and waste of the world "of flowers and willows" that thrives on prostitution.
go on tomorrow morning. I want to go to bed early. I trust that my rooms are quiet? ' ' Certainly, sir, very quiet indeed!' the greybeard mumbled. He quickly walked on and took the judge into a long, semi-dark corridor. At the end was a high door. The old clerk raised his lampion and let its light fall on the panels covered with intricate woodcarving, lavishly decorated with gold lacquer. Pushing the heavy door open, he remarked: ' The suite is located right at the back of the hostel, sir. It
of fact, it was the Crab who introduced me to Miss Ling, now and then he brings her medicine, for her cough. The poor dear's face is horribly disfigured by pock-marks, but she has the most beautiful voice. It seems that thirty years ago she was a famous courtesan here, of the first rank, and very popular. Isn't it sad that such an ugly old woman once was a great courtesan? It makes you think that some day you yourself . . .' Her voice trailed off. In order to cheer her up Ma Joong began to talk
yard.The girl helped Miss Ling inside, then stared disconsolately after the sedan chair till it had disappeared round the corner. Seeing her sad look, Ma Joong said with an awkward grin: 'Cheer up, dear! You needn't worry about anything, you can leave all your problems safely to my boss. That's what I always do! ' ' You would!' she snapped. She went inside, slamming the door shut in his face. Ma Joong scratched his head. Perhaps she had a point there. He strolled to the main street, in a
and act as their spy in Feng's mansion. I would have to conceal a small box in Feng's house, and that was all.' 'The dirty crooks! And you said yes, you fool? ' 'No need to call me names, my man ! Would you like to be marooned here on this island without a copper in your sleeve? Besides, I didn't know Feng, supposed he was as big a crook as the others, of course. And don't interrupt me, it's hard enough to keep to the thread of my sad narrative. By the way, didn't I hear you mention the word
she also make poetry ? ' Ma Joong asked suspiciously. ' Thank Heaven, no ! Nice, simple, understanding girl! The restful kind, if you know what I mean. Stable. Heaven preserve me from literary girls !' He hiccoughed, then added: ' Literary girls are high-strung, and I am sufficiently high-strung myself. No sir, all the poetry that'll be done in my household shall be done by me. Exclusively! ' 'Why are you sulking then? ' Ma Joong shouted, 'August Heaven, some fellows have all the luck! You'll