Merely a few weeks before the return of Hong Kong to China, only the pretense of colonial order exists. Cultural, legal and moral aspects of this tumultuous transfer are explored in this 16th Yellowthread Street novel, which offers a coherent and deeply thoughtful examination of individual motivation, cultural history and, unlike the preceding Nightmare Syndrome (1997), solid mystery. Detective Chief Inspector Harry Feiffer, facing an uncertain post-transition future, seeks order by trying to solve the murders of a nearly anonymous janitor and a colleague. Meanwhile, Detective Senior Inspector O'Yee and Colonel Kong, a representative of the Communist Chinese People's Police, debate on what makes a "good" man within society and within family. Detective Inspectors Spencer and Auden, answering a call to "hold the tearing fabric of the universe together" until the Duke of Extended Holiness (a "direct descendant of Confucius") can arrive, find themselves caught in a war between demons and geomancers, practitioners of "Chinese earth magic." References to the life and death of the last Imperial Chinese Eunuch hover like a shadow over all of the elements of this stimulating, rewarding tale.