Raja99's Reviews > The Chinese Gold Murders

The Chinese Gold Murders by Robert van Gulik
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U 50x66
's review
Apr 01, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: mcpl, bedside-y4
Read in February, 2009 , read count: 2

This is the second time I've read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though there are some nitpicks. For one, there are a few strange turns of phrase that might betray the fact that English isn't the author's first language. (But they aren't too common, and they might be a matter of dialect.) Also, the map of Peng-Lai at the beginning didn't quite seem to correspond to the sectional map on page 95 (the small map shows an arrow pointing east to the city, while the big map suggests it should be west). Finally, Van Gulik likes to interlace three unrelated mysteries, with three sets of characters; it's fun to see them all resolved, but it can be a little tough to keep track.

One other nitpick or concern: Most (all?) of the other Van Gulik books have nice drawings "by the author in Chinese style". This book has only the schematic map of Peng-Lai and the map of a small section. I'm wondering whether the author did illustrate this book, but the illustrations weren't included somehow? (Ok, neither of the editions I've seen include illustrations, but they seem to be taken from the same set of plates.)

I thoroughly enjoyed Van Gulik's portrayal of the (main) characters and the setting--China in 663 is at least as interesting, and alien, a culture as most SF authors can portray.


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