The Lacquer Screen
finds Judge Dee consorting with criminals as he goes incognito into the underworld of Weiping. Bargaining with thieves, sharing beds with prostitutes, he discovers the evidence to expose among the upper classes fraud, perversion – and murder.
#8 in the Judge Dee series by Van Gulik. Judge Dee (or Di) is partly based on an actual Chinese judge that lived during the Tang Dynasty and on which several folk tales are based. Van Gulik translated three of these stories, which were initially published in 1949 as The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee. These translations are not part of Van Gulik’s later continuity of the character.