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The Red Pavilion (Judge Dee (Chronological order) #9)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  632 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A.D. 668

A chance encounter with Autumn Moon, the most powerful courtesan on Paradise Island, leads Judge Dee to investigate three deaths. Although he finally teases the true story from a tangled history of passion and betrayal, Dee is saddened by the perversion, corruption, and waste of the world "of flowers and willows" that thrives on prostitution.
Paperback, 175 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1961)
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Mar 04, 2014 Steve added it
After the Dutch diplomat, orientalist and author Robert van Gulik (1910-1967) translated the Ming dynasty mystery novel Dee Goong An (Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee)

into English and had it published in Tokyo in 1949, it seems he was then on a mission - he wanted to convince the Chinese that their mystery tradition was strong enough to stand against that of the Occident and to convince the West that it was overlooking a good thing. It appears that he made at
Ivonne Rovira
May 24, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of historical mysteries set in exotic locales
Judge Dee, magistrate of Poo-yang, eagerly heads home after an unpleasant hearing in the capital surrounding some chicanery and illicit sex at a Buddhist monastery in the earlier The Chinese Bell Murders. Dee finds himself unexpectedly thrust into the role of investigator into an alleged suicide in the pleasure district of Paradise Island in the neighboring district. Paradise Island served as the Las Vegas of its day, with plenty of gambling, drinking and prostitution. The contrast between the “ ...more
Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee mysteries are always a pleasant undertaking as anachronistic as they may be.

I tend to liken them to the works of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe stories where the character of the Judge and his assistants is just as important to the enjoyment of the stories as the mysteries.

In 'The Red Pavilion' there is the usual caveat of Judge Dee having to deal with more than one mystery at a time though in this instance they are all tied together by the titular Red Pavilion. A feature
Nancy Oakes
After The Haunted Monastery, this one is quite possibly my favorite.

We find our hero, Tang-dynasty magistrate Dee on the pleasure capital called Paradise Island, where, as usual, he must deal with murder & mayhem. As usual, one crime leads to the uncovering of others, and I love to watch the magistrate pick up and unravel every strand of mystery. It is also cool to read these stories & begin to get a bit of a feel for everyday life in ancient China.

#9 in the series, so don't start with
The Judge Dee novels are purely brilliant. Robert Van Gulik was a true Sinophile, weaving carefully studied bits of Chinese culture into his mystery novels to draw foreign crowds into an extravagantly exotic setting. Unfortunately, the Red Pavilion pales in comparison to Van Gulik's other novels. The conclusion lacks the punch many of his other novels, though two of the most interesting characters anywhere in the series make their appearance in this volume. Still, a must read for any Judge Dee f ...more
Kathy Chung
I find that the story was a big dissappointing.

here Judge Dee was asked by his colleague to help "closed" a simple case of suicide. However the case did not turn out as simple as it looked.

a courtesan died and it was in the Red Pavilion. the same goes for the suicide case and another suicide case 30 years ago.

What I like about this book was Ma Joong, Crab and Shrimp. These three saves the story. Otherwise it would have been pale.

what I don't like about this story was the explanation of each c
I'd read this quite awhile ago in French but I didn't remember anything that happened. I think this is definitely my favourite Judge Dee book to date. It felt the most Chinese and I was able to picture it as a Hong Kong style movie while I was reading it. The story was a nice muder mystery about an apparent suicide and a similar murder 30 years previously. The stories were intertwined but it wasn't really possible to guess who'd done the murders or why. The setting was "paradise island" (Which c ...more
Vanhan tuttavuuden uudelleenlämmittely. Tällä kertaa osasin arvostaa kirjaa myös, koska tiesin sen olevan muodoltaan uskollinen vanhalle kiinalaiselle murhamysteeriperinteelle. Ja toki itse tarina on mainio, pientä kerronnallista pökkelömäisyyttä lukuun ottamatta. Lieneekö jälkimmäiseen syy, että tarina on hollantilaisen englanniksi kirjoittama niin, että tarkoituksena on julkaista se ensin japaniksi (ja kiinaksi)...?
Vaguely based on a historical figure; interesting to see how our modern capitalist/industrial society frame for crime/police/state reads backwards into 7th century China. Judge Dee is a sharp observer of people. Which is really what you read for, isn't it? As well as a good puzzle?
In this one our protagonist investigates several deaths in a city of leisure. Ancient Chinese Las Vegas?
Judge Dee is traveling through a neighboring district and has to spend the spend the night on a resort island noted for its gambling, prostitution and shopping. The local magistrate begs Dee to stay on for a couple of days to cover for him while he makes a sudden and unexpected trip. While there Dee is faced with three deaths that have occurred in the same (locked) room over the course of thirty years and appear to be suicides ... with just a few loose ends.

This story really belongs to Judge Dee
Judge Dee stops off on the way back from the capital in Paradise Island, a resort town where fleecing the customer through gambling, prostitution, and drink is the main industry. Judge Dee is too upright for any of that, but his friend Magistrate Lo convinces him to stay an extra day to wrap up a routine suicide case. Dee is then confronted by three unexplained deaths over a period of 30 years in the same locked room, the Red Pavilion, the hotel room he is staying in. Science fiction writers can ...more
Michelle Casey
Judge Dee is one of my most fAvorite mystery series . Set back in ancient China and based on a true historical figure I just never get tired of reading about the culture end the mysteries are always clever.
Sophie Lagacé
I just love the intricacy of this Judge Dee mystery and two minor characters, the Shrimp and the Crab, earn extra points. Mysteries and kung fu battles, what's not to love?
This is a very different sort of mystery, based on a real judge in ancient China. Each book has three cases for the judge to settle and this one is set on a pleasure island where the Red Pavilion has been the setting for a number of strange events. Judge Dee is involved only because he is storm bound and put into the Red Pavilion as emergency housing. Little things like bribery and private vengeance are accepted as the price of existing in the China of that day but Dee tries to walk a clear path ...more
4.5 stars. I loved this one, it kept me guessing up to the end.
Tatiana Pastukhova
Intriguing detective story with a flavor of Chinese history of 7th century
Kathy  Petersen
See The Chinese Gold Murders
Although Van Gulik wrote these novels in English, it was his second language, (Dutch was his first) and the prose is flat and unappealing. I discovered these novels in 1989 when I lived in Paris and read every one of them obsessively ... boy, did it make my French weird. People would routinely roll their eyes during my four month obsessive hunt for "un panier a thé ouatiné".

Still, they were FUN.
There's nothing really Chinese in this novel, the characters were talking and thinking the same way as we do today. Everything felt like a good happened in Las Vegas-Hollywood story, only that some of the characters got silk suits on them and a long beard. The mystery wasn't that surprising or especially good. The story was a nice and entertaining holiday for my overloaded little brain, though.
Lisa Kucharski
Ah, traveling broadens one's exposure to death. Or at least getting the last room available at an inn where two people have already died. Here Judge Dee investigates deaths of the past and present, separating truth from fiction and social intrigue from festering hatred. Interesting mix of place and culture as well.
Chris Gager
I just remembered this one recently. Some of the forgotten "old ones" pop up from time to time. I'm not sure which of the JD books I read(only one) so I picked this one. Very entertaining as I recall. Date read is a guess.
A nice story that leads to understand ways of managing showbuseness in old china. I do not know to which extend we can trust Guliks historical thruthness, but it was not unsimmilar to the present state of business.
Nancy Thormann
One of my good old standbys. I've read this book before, but I take it out every now and then when I need a pot boiler to read and don't feel like thinking about what I read.
Best Judge Dee book I have read so far...still fairly transparent whodunit, but very interesting historical background and great characters.
Mar 28, 2013 4cats rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Great series based on a magistrate/detective from China around the period of AD 630, Judge Dee. Easy to get into and well written.
Predictable, but a great read nonetheless.
Another Judge Dee with a twist ending
J David
J David marked it as to-read
Nov 27, 2015
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Robert Hans van Gulik was a Dutch diplomat best know for his Judge Dee stories. His first published book, The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, was a translation of an eighteenth-century Chinese murder mystery by an unknown author; he went on to write new mysteries for Judge Dee, a character based on a historical figure from the seventh century. He also wrote academic books, mostly on Chinese history ...more
More about Robert van Gulik...

Other Books in the Series

Judge Dee (Chronological order) (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An)
  • The Chinese Gold Murders
  • The Lacquer Screen
  • Judge Dee at Work: Eight Chinese Detective Stories
  • The Chinese Lake Murders
  • The Monkey and The Tiger
  • The Haunted Monastery
  • The Chinese Bell Murders
  • The Emperor's Pearl
  • Poets and Murder

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