Limited to 1200 signed and numbered copies, this particular one is number 853, and has "Review Copy" handwritten in ink in the hand of the author on the front free endpaper. Bound in boards with a Chinese woodcut illustration of a nude woman on the rack. Van Gulik's first "Judge Dee" book, a novel incorporating three stories translated from an ancient T'ang dynasty manuscript. Van Gulik utilized the Chinese detective in a series of original stories of his own creation, in what became a highly successful and critically applauded series in the 1950s and 1960s. Van Gulik entered The Netherlands Foreign Service in 1935, serving in various posts in China, Japan, East Africa, Egypt, India, Lebanon, and the U.S. From 1965 until his death in 1967 he was The Netherlands ambassador to Japan. Unfortunately I could not find a good English-language website for this author.