A Peking love story first published in 1935, The Maker of Heavenly Trousers tells the story of an unnamed foreign bachelor who lives in a courtyard dwelling alone but for the Five Virtues, the nickname for a family of mischievous Chinese servants who run his household as they please. It is they who take pity on their neighbour, Kuniang (literally, 'young girl'), whose father is rarely in Peking, inviting her to come and join them in their master's home. Independent and free-spirited, Kuniang is swept into a life of excitement, fleeting friendships and family. She encounters eccentrics, millionaires and a shadowy former mistress of Rasputin, gains many admirers and slowly she captures the heart of her guardian as well. But when Kuniang is unwittingly pulled into a strange and dark Eastern hypnosis a terrifying vision threatens their prospects and their charmed and charming world very nearly comes crashing down around them.