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Something is making the wrong people burst into flame prior to the Empress’ inauguration, and Detective Dee is summoned to crack the case. Like a good modern detective, he rejects supernatural explanations for the deaths, instead focusing on the thrillingly mundane realms of chemistry, zoology, and political intrigue. Unlike a good modern detective, he is not overly bound by the force of gravity, and doesn’t bat an eye at quasi-magical facelifts. Great fun until plot machinations and special effects bog things down in the final third or so. 2010.

**

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