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The Chinese Gold Murders Paperback – 22 Mar 2002
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About the Author
Robert Van Gulik was born in the Netherlands in 1910. He was educated at the Universities of Leyden and Utrecht, and served in the Dutch diplomatic service in China and Japan for many years. His interest in Asian languages and art led him to the discovery of Chinese detective novels and to the historical character of Judge Dee, famous in ancient Chinese annals as a scholar-magistrate. Van Gulik subsequently began writing the Judge Dee series of novels that have so captivated mystery readers ever since. He died of cancer in 1967.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The writer: Robert van Gulik was an Orientalist and diplomat; his wife, Shui Shifang, was the daughter of a former Imperial Mandarin. He wrote the Judge Dee stories (based on the historical Dee Jen-djieh, 630-700) because he felt that there was not enough Eastern detective fiction; and also to amuse himself! Though this is not the first Judge Dee story he wrote, it is the first in Judge Dee chronology.
My opinion: if you like classical detective stories, this might be of interest; personally, I love this series. Excellent atmosphere, interesting settings, good characters, puzzles, mystery, a touch of the unknoweable... folksy humour, too, in places. The Judge himself is stern and authoritative, as befits a magistrate, but we sometimes see his doubts and his human side, too. Ma Joong and Chiao Tai are splendid fellows, and the hunt for *who* the crime perpetrators might be is always exciting, with multiple suspects. Clever detecting, and I also like that there are several cases going on at the same time - as in most van Gulik books! Highly recommended.
Judge Dee stories are written in a way that resembles traditional Chinese conventions. Therefore, the "detective" (i.e. Judge Dee, in fact a magistrate in ancient China), deals with three different crimes in any book. These may somehow connect, but they may just as well be completely unrelated. Gulig's notes help further immerse the reader in the exotic atmosphere of ancient China.
The book is written in the familiar Gulig way, with the Judge solving these mysteries using his uncanny powers of observation and deduction, much like a modern sleuth would. However, adding to the mix Gulig's effortlessly convincing representation of ancient China and his easily-read prose, makes this another great Judge Dee book.
Highly recommended to anyone, whether a Judge Dee novice or a fan.