Home : Ex Libris : Authors : Robert van Gulik

Robert van Gulik


beware the wisdom of the magistrate

Have you seen our weblog or our monthly book review?

Robert van Gulik was a Dutch diplomat and Sinophile. While stationed in China he became acquainted with the rich tradition of the Chinese detective novel, which goes back to the Ming dynasty. Chinese detective novels almost always star a district magistrate, who is detective, judge, and jury all-in-one; during the course of the novel, the magistrate usually solves three unrelated cases. The magistrate is always clever, wise, and just.

Most of the Chinese novels he read he judged unsuitable for Western readers of detective fiction, in that the magistrate leaned too heavily on intuition or evidence from ghosts or omens to solve his cases. He found one in particular, though, which he thought would be of great interest: the Dee Goong An. He translated it; it is published in this country as Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee. Later, he decided to try writing his own stories in the same style, drawing plots from the full body of Chinese detective fiction, and holding Judge Dee to a stricter, more rational approach to detection. His first efforts were successful, and he went on to write many novels about the Judge.

The novels are set in the days of the Tang dynasty, as were his Ming dynasty models; and like those models, the dress and social customs portrayed belong properly to the Ming era rather than the Tang.

Titles

The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee
Translated from the Chinese. Reviews: 1 December 1998
The Chinese Maze Murders
Reviews: 1 November 1998, 1 April 2002
The Chinese Bell Murders
Reviews: 1 November 1998, 1 April 2002
The Chinese Gold Murders
Reviews: 1 November 1998, 1 April 2002
The Chinese Nail Murders
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 April 2002
The Emperor's Pearl
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 April 2002
The Monkey and The Tiger
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 June 2002
The Chinese Lake Murders
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 April 2002
The Lacquer Screen
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 April 2002
The Red Pavilion
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 June 2002
The Haunted Monastery
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 April 2002
Murder in Canton
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 May 2002
Judge Dee at Work
Reviews: 1 December 1998, 1 May 2002
Necklace and Calabash
Reviews: 1 January 1999, 1 June 2002
The Willow Pattern
Reviews: 1 February 1999, 1 June 2002


Home : Ex Libris : Authors : Robert van Gulik
Copyright © 2004, by William H. Duquette. All rights reserved.
Search this site:
 

• The View from the Foothills
• Previous Author
• Next Author
• Ex Libris Staff
• Links
• FAQs About Us

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More

Sites we like:

James Lileks
Banana Oil
2 Blowhards
God of the Machine
Goliard Dream
Reflections in d minor
Instapundit
Slashdot
Gizmodo
Blithering Idiot