Zhuang Tinglong died of illness in 1655 shortly after the book was completed. In 1660, Zhuang Tinglong's Father, Zhuang Yuncheng (莊允誠), had the book printed and distributed under the title Brief Series of Ming History (明史輯略/明書輯略). In 1661, Wu Zhirong (吳之榮; died 1665), the magistrate of Gui'an County (歸安縣; in present-day Huzhou, Zhejiang), reported the book to Chen Yongming (陳永命; died 1662), the prefecture governor. However, Chen Yongming dismissed the case after accepting a bribe of a few thousand silver taels from Zhuang Yuncheng. As Zhuang Yuncheng refused to bribe Wu Zhirong, the latter made another report – this time to higher authority. The central government in Beijing eventually found out about the book.
The case was closed on 21 June 1663. The thousands of people who were involved or implicated in the case were rounded up at a military camp in Hangzhou, where they were sentenced. Over 70 people were condemned to death: Zhuang Tingyue, Mao Yuanming, Jiang Linzheng, Zhang Gao, Wei Yuanjie (韋元介), Pan Chengzhang, Wu Yan, Wu Zhirong (吳之熔; not the same person as the Wu Zhirong (吳之榮) who reported the book), Wu Zhiming and others were executed by lingchi. Song Kui (松奎), the General of Hangzhou, and Zhu Changzuo (朱昌祚), the Provincial Governor of Zhejiang, along with their subordinates, were dismissed from office. Cheng Weifan (程維藩), who instigated Song Kui to accept bribes to cover up the case, was executed. Two teachers from Gui'an and Wucheng counties were also executed. Chen Yongming, the prefecture governor of Huzhou, was removed from office and sent to Tai'erzhuang, Shandong. Even after he committed suicide by hanging himself during the journey, his body was sent back to Hangzhou and dismembered. Chen Yonglai (陳永賴), Chen Yongming's brother who was serving as the magistrate of Jiang Ning County (江寧縣), was executed as well. Wang Zhaozhen (王兆禎) and Li Huan (李煥), teachers in Gui'an County, along with Tan Ximin (譚希閔), Chen Yongming's successor as prefecture governor of Huzhou, were executed by hanging, while their families were exiled to Ningguta (寧古塔; near present-day Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province). The Writer Gu Yanwu (1613–1682), who was in Fenyang, Shanxi Province, wrote two poems to describe his grief over the case.