1022, Song Dynasty.
As the Magistrate of Taihe County, Chen Boyu had to investigate all sorts of cases: robbery, sorcery, adultery, demon possession, human sacrifice, and of course, murder.
The perpetrators weren’t always human. Offended gods, invisible spirits, man-eating trees, and occasionally, hopping zombies had made Chen question his knowledge, his belief, and sometimes, his sanity.
The ragtag group under his command wasn’t much help: a part-time coroner who was a full-time gambler, a steward who might be equal parts friend and foe, a blushing maidservant who could talk his ear off, and a bunch of constables who’d rather be anywhere else.
Fingerprint analysis wouldn’t be invented for another 900 years. DNA was as alien a concept as, well, aliens. Forensics were often limited to guessing whether a man or woman had left those shoeprints.
Confucius’s teachings were as useful to crime solving as a spoon in a sinking boat. Unconventional crimes required unconventional approaches.
Brothel madam, travelling monk, street urchin . . . Chen teamed up with these unlikely characters, and forged ahead with one goal in mind: