Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee
A book i’d managed to track down & purchase a while ago & a perfect excuse to kick off my summer reading with a short teccie story or three (there are 3 stories according to the notes)...... well the beginning was quite bizarre as the Preface by the author went ON and ON and ON to a little over 40 pages ...more
The Dutch diplomat, orientalist and author Robert van Gulik (1910-1967) translated Dee Goong An (Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee) into English and had it published in Tokyo in 1949. The original Chinese text was written some time in the 18th century and was published anonymously, hence it was written by a literatus/scholar who would have been embarrassed to have his peers know that he had composed such a work, since they generally view ...more
Yes, as with so many things, the Chinese did paranormal BDSM centuries before the current craze sweeping America.
But, ironically, in this book the paranormal element is somewhat muted, which is the main reason Robert van Gulik thought it might be presentable in translation to Western readers.
I try to learn something practical from every book I read. The thin ...more
This was an 18th century Chinese detective novel.
China has a long tradition of detective novels and they quite distinctive from western detective novels. The purpose of this particular translation was to introduce the Chinese detective novel genre to a Western audience. This particular book was picked by the translator and publisher because the plot is more Western than most. It was said to be one of the influences to Neal Stephenson's novel, the Diamond Age.
The plot revolves around several int...more
Beyond that; the construction of the story (three unrelated crimes unfolding in a random manner) was very clever. The dry but fluent way the whole thing is written makes it very easy to read. The torture parts were a bit hard ...more
Judge Dee was a real person - Di Renjie, Duke Wenhui of Liang, a Chinese official, statesman, and judge who lived from 630 to 700. Robert van Gulik came across an 18th century Chinese my ...more
First a bit about the author. Robert H. Van Gulik was the Dutch ambassador to Japan before the war. When the war started he became the Dutch ambassador to China. He was an incredible scholar.
The D ...more
I have read my fair share of mysteries, and even though I love the genre, sometimes I feel the need to look for something out of the norm. That is why I have explore mysteries in special locations or times. In one of these searches I came across this book and decided to give it a try. The first thing that struck me was the extensive introduction by the translator, Robert van Gulik. In this essay, he explains the characteristics of the typical Ch ...more
I don't regret reading it, it was interesting. For the details and story development.
Example: swishing the sleeves and torture methods, ceremonial customs and time flow.
Judge Di seemed a bit too admired and trusted but I guess it is the difference in cultures.
I don't want to write spoilers so I won't write more.
The only regret I have is that my copy of the book had a lot of editing problems, double words and spelling mistakes.
Note: Though I am listing this one book just now, I have read the entire series. As delicious as a plate of superior Chinese food.
1. The criminal is apparently typically introduced at the beginning of the story - the enjoyment comes from the detective's moves, and the criminal's counter moves....the stories in this novel rang more true of the western "who done its"
2. The ...more
Unlike detective stories in the west, this book is about more than just solving the mystery. (Which makes sense, Chinese writers have been telling mystery stories for 1,000 years, well before Poe and Doyle did.) It i ...more
It is NOT a “normal” detective story.
It has CRUDE descriptions of torture and other stuff inside (I will not spoil it).
It has a historical context.
I got this book by some Goodreads recommendation.
For a book wrote in 1949, it is a pretty good one.
The preface was way too long...To many observations about how the Chinese detective stories are different from the western ones...
It is somewhat interesting, but you can skip al ...more
Full review on my blog ...more