London, John Murray, 1929.
Octavo, 335 pages.
Green cloth; later gift inscription on the front flyleaf; an excellent copy with the very good dustwrapper heavily sunned on the spine and lightly chipped along the top edge. The dustwrapper seems to be produced from wallpaper with a striking design; the details relating to the author, title and publisher are printed on panels of thick yellow paper mounted on the front cover and spine.
'Rodney Gilbert (1889-1968) was an American conservative editorial writer, newspaper columnist.... In 1912 Gilbert went to China to travel the country; he began as a salesman for Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People but ended up spending 17 years there, becoming fluent in Chinese and eventually working as a correspondent for the "North China Daily News". In 1926 his series of columns on traveling in Chinese Turkestan were compiled into his first book, "What's Wrong With China". He was a strong supporter of Chinese nationalism and of Chiang Kai-Shek, and firmly anti-Communist. In 1929 he joined the staff of the "Herald Tribune" as an editorial writer and returned to the United States. His editorials, which were largely conservative and anti-Communist in nature and which were published under the pseudonym "Heptisax", appeared regularly for 15 years, until 1944. From 1944 to 1946 Gilbert served as Dean of the Post-Graduate School of Journalism of the Central Political Institute of Chungking, organized and established under the auspices of Columbia University. Later, he collaborated with Columbia University to bring Chinese journalism students to the United States to study' (Syracuse University Library, which holds his archive). This crime novel, set in China about sixty years earlier, was written as he was departing the country, literally: it 'occupied the thirty-odd days of a voyage from Shanghai to Marseilles on a ...cargo boat' (preface).