When, in Washington, D.C., two of the staffers in the Asian section of the Werner-Bok library are dispatched at their homes, Crighton Jones once again calls on her chums Steve Carson and Edward George (The Best Cellar, etc.) for help. The trio, plus new trainee Kit Chang, are soon snooping around the stacks, chatting up the staff, including the strangely tight-lipped Dr. Wu, and patrons of the Asian reading room--one of whom is then killed, while another disappears and a third, a visiting bookseller, keeps donating semi-rarities to the Werner-Bok. Is it possible that the library is housing, in crates and uncatalogued, the better part of 20,000 volumes comprising the Yung-lo Ta Tien, treasures stolen from the Chinese Imperial Palace during the Boxer Rebellion? Taiwan, it seems, as well as mainland China and inscrutable members of a Washington tong organization, wants them back. With much charm and cerebral patter, Crighton and friends, with an assist from a Houdini expert, disentangle greed from patriotism, and restore peace and quiet to the library. A lively rendering of library acquisition procedures, Chinese bookbinding, Blue Willow china, and cultural cross-purposes, with occasional murderous interruptions. A jaunty approach to scholarship; a cavalier approach to mystery.