The Red Pavilion (Judge Dee Mysteries, Book 8)
Robert Van Gulik
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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.
honour to have the magistrate of our neighbour district here ! ' the manager said suavely. But when he was staring at their retreating backs he muttered: ' That's awkward! The fellow is a notorious busy-body, I hope he won't find out . . .' He worriedly shook his head. The old clerk took Judge Dee across the entrance hall to the central courtyard, flanked by large, two-storied buildings. Loud voices and peals of laughter resounded from behind the lighted paper windows. ' All occupied, every
that someone was watching him. Turning round in his chair he quickly surveyed the sitting-room behind him. No one was there. He got up and walked over to the barred window of the Red Room. He looked inside but it was empty. Then he stepped up to the balustrade and scrutinized the dense shrubbery growing all along the veranda's raised base. As far as he could see nothing stirred among the dark shadows there. He noticed, however, an unpleasant smell as if of rotting leaves. He sat down again. It
went on stolidly,' that your boss wanted to see him. Then he'd have to be quick, for Wen is leaving town tonight, I heard. For the capital. To buy antiques, he says. I won't guarantee it's true. Take it as an informal, voluntary statement.' ' Thanks for the tip! I don't mind telling you now that we aren't through with that old goat. Not by a long way!' ' That's what I thought,' the Crab said dryly. ' Well, I'll go back to the kitchen. The Shrimp needs that practice. Badly. Goodbye.' Ma Joong
outside work. We are a team, you know.' Pointing at a sagging small shed of cracked boards leaning against a tall yew tree, he remarked casually: 'That there is Miss Ling's place.' A short walk brought them to the waterside, lined by willow trees. A small, white-plastered house with a thatched roof stood behind a rustic bamboo fence. The Crab took Ma Joong round the house to the well-kept garden, covered with pumpkin plants, and made him sit down on the wooden bench under the eaves. From there
abruptly, paid his bill and went downstairs. He passed Kia Yu-po's hostel and walked along the bamboo fence on its left till he came to a small gate. It was standing ajar, on the jamb hung a wooden tablet, marked ' Private'. He pushed it open and followed a well-kept path, winding among the tall trees. Their thick foliage screened off the noise from the street. When he had come out on the bank of a large pond, it was curiously still. A gracefully curved bridge of red-lacquered wood led across.