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The Story of the Stone
Barry Hughart
In the valley of Sorrows, a monk is brutally murdered for a worthless manuscript, and the abbot of the humble monastery calls upon Master Li and Number Ten Ox to investigate the seemingly senseless killing. The most likely suspect is the infamous Laughing Prince, founder of the valley, whose murderous frenzies have made him a legend. But even Master Li must concede that the prince has a pretty good alibi: he's been dead for more than seven hundred years.

Undaunted, Master Li and Number Ten Ox begin their search for the Laughing Prince. Together they roam a mystical countryside populated by demons, ghosts, murderers, and mad kings to the very gates of heaven itself -- and what they find there is even stranger still.
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