The Willow Pattern: A Judge Dee Mystery (Judge Dee Mystery Series)
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Judge Dee has been appointed emergency governor of the plague- and drought-ridden Imperial City. As his guards help the city fend off a popular uprising, an aristocrat from one of the oldest families in China suffers an "accident" in a deserted mansion.
In The Willow Pattern, the illustrious judge uses his trademark expertise to unravel the mysteries of the nobleman, a shattered vase, and a dead bondmaid. Along the way he encounters a woman who fights with loaded sleeves, a nearly drowned courtesan, and an elaborate trap set for a murderer. Packed with suspense, violence, and romance, The Willow Pattern won’t disappoint Judge Dee’s legions of loyal fans.
"The China of old, in Mr. van Gulik’s skilled hands, comes vividly alive again."—Allen J. Hubin, New York Times Book Review
reconstructed as completely as that which allegedly happened to Mr Mei, you see. Consider the candle dropped at the head of the stairs, the slipper halfway down, the blood on the top of the newel, and the dead man's head lying close to that newel! It was all too pat. It seemed as if someone had deliberately charted the way it happened, so to speak, step by step. Further, the fact that Mrs Mei was a former courtesan and that her husband was twice her age, brought to mind, of course, the all too
Tao Gan. They will try to lead investigators astray by adding superfluous details, not realizing that it's exactly those that arouse suspicion. In this case the candle, the slipper, and the blood on the newel were quite superfluous. As you pointed out very correctly when we were standing in the hall, Tao Gan, the fall from those steep stairs would have proved fatal to an old man like Mei anyway. Anybody who would find him at the foot of the stairs with a crushed skull, would have accepted it as
guesswork. I suppose that, having killed Yee, her rage suddenly abated. She looked in horror at what she had done. One couldn't expect her to know that killing Yee had been a clear case of manslaughter, completely justifiable for he had been on the point of murdering her sister, in the same hideous manner as he had murdered their mother. When she saw the blood on her scarf, she got into a real panic. She threw the iron ball into the canal, and the stained scarf on the floor. Then she stepped on
that now the canal wasn't any more a mass of quiet, practically stagnant water. The sluices had been opened, and there was a strong current.' He cast a quick glance at Ma Joong. 'You were born and bred in the water district, my friend. You ought to know that, when there is a bend in a water course, the current is always strongest along the outer side of the curve. I often noticed that fact when, standing on a bridge, I followed the course of pieces of driftwood. Moreover, on the inner side of
remarked sourly. 'The Five Blessings,' the other repeated pensively. 'Money, high office, long life, good health and many children. Why not call this tavern after them, soldier? It's built against the back wall of the last big house of this quarter. Across the streets the slums begin. So this tavern is a boundary stone, so to speak, dividing the five blessings between the rich and the poor. Money, high office, long life and good health for the rich. Many children, too many, for the poor. Four to