Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Haunted Monastery” as Want to Read:
The Haunted Monastery
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Haunted Monastery

(Judge Dee (Chronological order) #7)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,362 ratings  ·  83 reviews
A.D. 666

Judge Dee and his entourage, seeking refuge from a mountain storm, become trapped in a Taoist monastery, where the Abbott Jade mysteriously dies after delivering an ecstatic sermon. The monks call it a supernatural experience, but the judge calls it murder. Recalling the allegedly accidental deaths of three young women in the same monastery, Judge Dee seeks clues i

Paperback, 198 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by University of Chicago Press (first published 1961)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Haunted Monastery, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Haunted Monastery

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,362 ratings  ·  83 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Haunted Monastery
Henry Avila
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
During the golden Tang Dynasty renowned for its arts and culture in old China, lived a famous magistrate ( Di Renjie, A.D. 630 to 700). Called Judge Dee in this book, he was an unusually honest man, noted for solving crimes later worked in the Imperial Court, in the capital, Luoyang. Became chancellor, a celebrated and effective official for the Empress Wu.You can still visit his lordship's tomb, that's history. Robert van Gulik loosely based his mystery novels on him......Our story begins in no ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: multi-culti, mystery
Fresh off the case of The Chinese Gold Murders, I was rather looking forward to another of Judge Dee's adventures. Judge Dee and his retinue are returning from their travels when they are confronted with a terrible storm that will surely dump their carts off the mountainside if they try and shelter in place. The best spot to spend the night is the nearby Morning Cloud Monastery, already on the Judge's mental list for an upcoming visit for the deaths of three young women. Unfortunately, it's cold ...more
May 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good historical mystery, set in China around 666 A.D. Judge Dee was a real person, but the series of stories by van Gulik are fictions. Dee and his three wives and their servants are forced to take refuge in a monastery when their cart breaks down. There has been a series of suspicious deaths of young women at the monastery, and as Dee and his wives are being led up to their room he sees a naked girl being menaced by a fierce-looking man through the window in an adjacent tower. Despite ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love historical mysteries set in exotic locales
Author Robert van Gulik, an accomplished Dutch diplomat, linguist, and Orientalist, yet again proves himself a great writer as well with The Haunted Monastery, the fifth book in the wonderful Judge Dee mystery series. In this short book, set in western China (in what is modern-day Sichuan Province) in A.D. 666, Judge Dee takes refuge during a terrible rainstorm in the Monastery of the Morning Clouds. Judge Dee, had been traveling home with his entourage, when the cart broke an axle. Judge Dee, u ...more
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, in-czech, 2010
One of the creepiest Judge Dee stories - it's set in a secluded Taoist monastery in the mountains, in a monastery full of secret rooms and passages and crazy, crazy people - but also one of the funniest - Dee has the flu and he's even grumpier than what's usual for him. We also learn more about Dee's personal life, that he has three wives, called the First, Second and Third Lady in the book, and about his assistant, Tao Kan. The story itself is rather gory, bodies hacked apart and similar stuff. ...more
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
Judge Dee is traveling with his three wives when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, forcing him to seek shelter at a Taoist monastery. When a gust of wind blows open the window in his room, Dee witnesses a possible crime: a man in a helmet attacking a naked one-armed woman. However, when he asks to see the part of the monastery where the crime occurred, not only is there no trace of the man and woman, there's also no window. The only window it could have been was bricked up long ago. ...more
Travis Gluckman
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book has a similarity to Sherlock Holmes in the way that the mystery is revealed and built up too. It is set in a Taoist Monastery on a cliff where Judge Dee, the Magistrate of the province along with his wives, stops on a Journey due to a storm. He gets engaged in investigating the deaths of multiple young girls who lost their lives due to "natural causes", but had never been documented. Many mysterious happenings go on while the judge is at the Monastery and one can instantly tell that al ...more
Jim Puskas
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, occult
I chose this rather off-beat book because after a series of earnest and undoubtedly literate novels and a thoroughly sobering examination of today's increasingly dangerous world, I had an appetite for an old-fashioned mystery. This is about as old-fashioned as you can get, written in 1961 and set in the 7th century CE. The setting and atmosphere begin well: A sinister ancient monastery in the mountains in China, a violent storm, dark night, evil afoot.
As promised, the mystery is suitably inscrut
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the mountains above Hanyuan, Judge Dee has been caught together with Tao Gan and his three wives in the middle of a thunderstorm. They must take refuge at the Daoist monastery Chaoyunguan, where during the Northern Wei dynasty a peasant revolt was violently quelled, and where more recently three young girls have died mysterious and unexplained deaths. In addition, Judge Dee begins seeing ghostly apparitions and hearing strange whispers in the monastery halls. In spite of these hauntings and i ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I liked this unusual period mystery. We just watched "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" found out during the "extras" that the story was based on a historic character. Further research turned up the novels by van Gulik, which centered on Judge Dee. According to the author, the storied are based on the real character, although the mysteries themselves are made up.

The characters are interesting, the glimpses into life in the Tang dynasty intriguing.
Frank McAdam
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The Judge Dee mysteries, set in Tang Dynasty China, are literate offbeat thrillers. Judge Dee was a historical personage, and it would be nice to believe he was as wise and intrepid an investigator as Gulik describes him. This story has some nice twists and turns, not to mention hints of sexual deviance, but most readers will figure out the murderer's identity long before the last page. Still, it's a fun read that along the way provides insights into Chinese culture. ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
There's mystery, and there's eeriness, and there's Chinese culture. I read this Whodunit a bit late; had I read it when I was a teenager, it would have probably become my favorite book! Still liked it a lot though. ...more
J Grimsey
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good simple Chinese who dun it
Joseph Hirsch
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Haunted Monastery" is an exceptional blending of fact and fiction, a melding of various periods of time, as well as an inventive melange of different genres and clashes of Weltanschauungen.

Judge Dee was a real Chinese magistrate in the 7th Century who was also renowned as a lay detective of crimes, and since his doings had been written of extensively for entertainment and edification well before author Robert Van Gulik got his hands on the character, one is pushed to the truly amazing conc
Karen GoatKeeper
What is the Tao religion? Judge Dee and his family are traveling on a stormy night when their tilt cart breaks an axle stranding them in a Taoist monastery for the night.
As the family settles into their assigned room, the Judge sees a man through a window in another room with a woman with a severed arm. What is going on? What really happened to the old Abbot? What secrets are being hidden away by the new Abbot? Judge Dee and Tao Gan spend the night trying to track down what really happened to th
Desiree Koh
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perfect for Halloween, what was shocking about the fourth in the Judge Dee series is the titular Confucianist taking matters and justice into his own hands, the way you wouldn't trust Brett Kavanaugh to. Beyond that, the judge acknowledges certain societal infrastructures beyond his ability to penetrate - you take down one perpetrator, only to compromise on leaving other tainted slates free under the sheen on goodliness. Such overarching crimes against morality prevailed during the Tang dynasty, ...more
Apr 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Judge Dee is forced to stay at a Taoist monastery in the mountains because one of his carts has a broken axle. As always, the setup has three mysteries; what happened to former abbot Jade Mirror, what is up with White Rose who supposedly wants to become a nun, and what happened to three other girls who died mysteriously? In a group of traveling actors, not everyone is who (s)he says (s)he is. Also, a bear.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, relaxing read. I'm getting better at discovering essential details but still unable to find the real killer... ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is what happens when a Dutch diplomat tries to write a Chinese Sherlock Holmes in the 7th century.
Always good to read a classic.
Barden Ratings
May 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gulik also treated to enough character development and interaction which serves that good mix that would make us want more.
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending was great.
Erich Arredondo
May 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending was great.
Jun 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this crime from start to finish.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally bought the French version of this book while I was in Paris last summer and then bought the English version on ebay. A murder mystery set in a haunted Taoist monastery during the Tang sounded perfect and I did enjoy it even if there weren't any actual ghosts. I read the English version first this time and then the French version. This helped with my comprehension of the French a great deal as when I found one passage confusing I could go back and figure out what was going on from th ...more
Meita Supardi
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really like this book. As someone who grew up reading agatha christie, this book is also a classic detective story, really exciting to read, with a touch of horror on the side. Different from CSI era, this novel gives you a perspective of how we deal with crimes in the past. And by the past here, is waaayyy back to the year 668 or so in ancient China.

I fell in love with Judge Dee character, who is very fair and competent in solving all the problems, and he doesn't care with the status of the p
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-mystery
An historical mystery set in ancient China. Judge Dee finds himself stranded, along with his three wives, at a remote Taoist monastery, and uncovers all sorts of wickedness among the monks. Including murder, rape and kidnapping. Judge Dee, being a devoted follower of Confucius, doesn’t rely approve of this new-fangled Taoist dabbling in metaphysical speculations anyway. Dee is a delightfully entertaining detective, and the whole tale is rather like one of Ann Radcliffe’s overheated gothic novels ...more
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Why I reread this book: I put the EPUB version on my iPad recently, took a look at it ... and found myself hooked, all over again.

This is probably my favorite of the Judge Dee mysteries I've read. Like the others, it has pleasant viewpoint characters (the Judge and his "lieutenant" Tao Gan); unlike the others, this has a whiff of horror about it, both in the atmosphere (the setting feels a little like a haunted house, with ghosts and secret passages) and the final revelation, which is a bit unpl
Kathy Chung
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
judge dee never fails to impress me. even staying a night in a monastery, he would inevitable come across a mystery and solve it.

I love the many characters in this story. each have own purpose in going to the monastery. reminds me of Agatha Christie's 10 little Indians story.

what I didn't like about this story was that it was hard to imagine the plan of the monastery. There was just too many corridors and rooms. it kinda disturbed the flow of the story for me coz I need to recall who and who wa
Nancy Oakes
My personal favorite, this one is #5 in the series. Judge Dee, along with several wives and households finds himself trapped by a storm in in the mountains, and forced to take refuge in a Daoist monastery. Of course, as usual, the magistrate finds several mysteries awaiting him.

The final denouement is one of the most vivid I've read in a mystery. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy historical mysteries or stories set in China.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Final Deduction (Nero Wolfe, #35)
  • Freedom or Death
  • The Livonian Brothers of the Sword: The History of the Medieval Catholic Military Order that Fought Pagans in Eastern Europe
  • Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom
  • Hadrian's Wall
  • 1066: The Year of the Conquest
  • Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies
  • The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
  • The Hundred Years War: The English in France 1337-1453
  • Leonardo and the Last Supper
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Black Prince: England's Greatest Medieval Warrior
  • The Fortunes of Africa: A 5,000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor
  • The Norman Conquest
  • The Moving Toyshop (Gervase Fen, #3)
  • The Ghost Writer
  • The Unknown Soldier
  • Gambit (Nero Wolfe, #37)
See similar books…
Robert Hans van Gulik was a Dutch diplomat best known 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 histor ...more

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 Chinese Bell Murders
  • The Red Pavilion
  • The Emperor's Pearl
  • Poets and Murder

Related Articles

  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
59 likes · 15 comments
“I belong to that small group of chosen people, who because of their superior knowledge and talents are far above ordinary human rules and limitations. We have advanced beyond such conventional notions as ‘good' and ‘bad'.” 0 likes
“You have now learned the valuable lesson, Dee, that law and custom are only there for the common people; they don't apply to exalted persons like me.” 0 likes
More quotes…