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1967 compilation of eight short stories - plus timeline!
on 7 March 2009
Eight short stories: five auspicous clouds, the red tape murder, He came with the rain (663, Peng-lai); Murder on the lotus pond (Han-yuan, 667); The two beggars, the wrong sword (Poo-yang, 669); The coffin of the emperor, murder on New Year's eve (Lan-fang, 672-674). AND a chronolgy of the Judge's life, career, and stories from fifteen novels and eight short stories (These); the only ones missing, because they were written later, are Necklace and calabash (669, Poo-yang) and Poets and murder (670, Poo-yang).
And the stories themselves? They're short, yes, but they still show our favourite judge in his proper pastime, solving crimes. I would say I prefer the longer novels, as there is more room for confusion and plot twists; but even in the short ones like these van Gulik manages to get the atmosphere just right. These books are great, a pleasure to re-read every couple of years, and a lasting pleasure - I have been reading them for forty years now, and that pleasure increases rather than diminishes! Long live the judge, even if he died in 700, having reached the rank of Lord Chief Justice.