Derek's Reviews > The Chinese Lake Murders

The Chinese Lake Murders by Robert van Gulik
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's review
Feb 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery
Read from February 04 to 08, 2012

The outcome of the story for Dee himself is not glory but a chewing-out by his superiors. The implication is that the ancient Chinese judicial and administrative system actually expects a Sherlock Holmes level of competence from its magistrates, and that Dee should have been on top of events from the very start.

I came away from this very pleased. It's interesting to see a mystery framed by an entirely different system of jurisprudence, and van Gulik goes to lengths to justify the story details with regard to Chinese history and culture. It may not be a perfect rendition, but the versimilitude is there.

All the women in the story appear to be known by English words: "Moon Fairy", "Almond Blossom", etc. Is this supposed to be the literal translation of their private names, and if so, why is this only done for the women?

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