The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An): An Authentic Eighteenth Century Chinese Detective Novel

The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An): An Authentic Eighteenth Century Chinese Detective Novel

by Robert van Gulik (Translator)


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Long before Western writers had even conceived the idea of writing detective stories, the Chinese had developed a long tradition of literary works that chronicled the cases of important district magistrates. These judges held a unique position. As "fathers to the people" they were at once judge and detective, responsible for all aspects of keeping the peace and for discovering, capturing, and punishing criminals.
One of the most celebrated historical magistrates was Judge Dee, who lived in the seventh century A.D. This book, written in the eighteenth century by a person well versed in the Chinese legal code, chronicles three of Judge Dee's most celebrated cases, interwoven to form a novel. A double murder among traveling merchants, the fatal poisoning of a bride on her wedding night, and an unsolved murder in a small town under Judge Dee's jurisdiction — these are the crimes. They take Judge Dee up and down the great silk routes, through clever disguises, into ancient graveyards where he consults the spirits of the dead, and through some clever deduction.
After translating Dee Goong An, Robert Van Gulik continued the adventures of Judge Dee in fiction he wrote himself. This, however is the only place where you can find the originals of Judge Dee, the venerable Sergeant Hoong, the treacherous Ma Joong, and the other members of Dee's detective force. As the first publication of Dee Goong An in the United States, this edition makes these cases accessible for the first time.
While the cases are superb for reading, they also show the Chinese system of law enforcement and legal proceedings (which are quite different from Western forms). Van Gulik has provided a thorough introduction and appendix with much information on Chinese detective novels, the Chinese system of justice, and particularly relevant aspects of Chinese law that play a part in these stories.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486233376
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 06/01/1976
Series: Judge Dee Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 205,763
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robert van Gulik (1910-1967) was a diplomat and author. He is best known for his series of historical mysteries featuring Judge Dee, inspired by an 18th-Century Chinese detective novel. His first original novel was completed in 1950, the book was titled The Chinese Maze Murders. In all he would write over a dozen Judge Dee novels.

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The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An): An Authentic Eighteenth Century Chinese Detective Novel 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
michaeleconomy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
weird ancient chinese detective drama.I read this for world history II.
TracyK1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like the book. It is different from the other's that this author wrote, although he keeps it pretty close. This is a translated book written by someone else in the 18th century that was later translated by Robert Van Gulik during WWII. It is a very good read and you also get an interesting history of china and how there legal system works.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee was first assigned to me as a supplement in a World History class in college, however after opening the book I found that I could not put it down. I have become deeply intrigued by ancient Chinease customs and cultures. I plan to read the other Judge Dee books because they are truly historically accurate and detailed.