This is the first of a trilogy, set on the Tibetan-Chinese border in 1708. An exiled imperial librarian, Li Du, turns detective when an astronomer is killed in a border town he is passing through.
The emperor has declared that he would command a solar eclipse - the victim is the Jesuit who actually did the science. While the blame for the murder is placed on Tibetan bandits, Li Du knows that everyone has secrets: the ambitious magistrate, the powerful consort, the bitter servant, the irreproachable secretary, the East India Company merchant, the nervous missionary, and the traveling storyteller who can’t keep his own story straight.
Li Du must make a decision: does he leave and embrace his exile, or does he stay and investigate a murder every one seems all to willing to forget?
A wonderful book that looks at Chinese society in a very different time.
Selected as the April 2020 read by the Hoot-Dunnit Mystery Book Club! Interested in joining the club? Contact Owl’s Nest Books for more information.
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