I, of course was interested in China, and the Judge Dee murder mysteries caught my eye. For, as powerful as he may be locally, there really are checks and balances in the system, both formal and informal, and the anonymous author makes them clear to us.
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.
They are thin paperbacks, sometimes concentrating on one case; others have a couple of stories within one book. Fortunately, it turns out that this observant merchant is not the wanted criminal; on the contrary, he is an honest merchant, with his own accounts to settle with the criminal, who become a very valuable ally.
Like his modern fictions, it adroitly intertwines three plots and shows the judge and his aides in their now familiar guise.
Literary significance and criticism[ edit ] "Dee Goong An is the genuine article, dating from the 18th century and barely modified by the translator to make it intelligible today. He used methods and tools such as, going undercover, using underground sources, interrogation, and forensic science to solve his problems.
Sometimes, however, Judge Dee finds it expedient to go out incognito and carry out an investigation in disguise.
Plot introduction[ edit ] There are three cases in this book. This novel Dee Goong An is offered here in a complete translation.
Judge Dee and with the help of his associates, begins solving the crime through much observation and Judge Dee was very clever. As Judge Dee begins solving the crimes, the story unfolds slowly and shows the reader the history of China.
During this period, one can see how the Chinese authoritative views were strict, the laws and punishment which were enforced, and what the outlook on the Chinese society was. Translation[ edit ] The Dutch sinologist and diplomat Robert van Gulik came across a copy in a second-hand book store in Tokyo and translated the novel into English.
Nonetheless, the typical genre reader will likely be shocked and disappointed by this book. You will not be held in breathtaking suspense, but you will find yourself listening in on intriguing conversations.
He was famous as a "detector of crime," and according to Van Gulik, the Chinese today consider him their "master detective," as popular as Sherlock Holmes is to us. The part which Van Gulik translated describes Judge Dee simultaneously solving three difficult criminal cases, culminating with his being rewarded by promotion to the Imperial court which, Van Gulik notes, was the traditional culmination of a Chinese story about an official.
Van Gulik obtained three editions of that book — a 19th-century manuscript and two printed editions, published respectively in and in at Shanghai. These judges held a unique position.
In this tradition there is no conviction without a confession, and an often employed tool of this justice system was the beating and torture of suspects and recalcitrant witnesses, though van Gulik explains that there were checks built into the system which assured that extreme abuse of such means was minimized.
Any official departure of Judge Dee from the court compound which also includes his private living quarters is done with fanfare, accompanied by a large retinue of constables and officials. Finding them can occur only when you discover which book has the chronology in it.
Also, the supernatural is allowed to play a significant role in such stories. This case contains a surprising twist in its solution.
He carries off very well the disguise of an itinerant physician; as Van Gulik points out, knowledge of medicine was expected of Chinese literati. In works such as Dee Goong An, Judge Dee solves three murders independently of one another during the same time period.
Judge Dee, naturally, is responsible for deciding sentences as well as assessing guilt or innocence, although van Gulik notes in the stories that all capital punishments must be referred to and decided by officials in the capital.
All three cases are solved by Judge Dee, the district magistrate, detective, prosecutor, judge, and jury all wrapped up into one person. This is light and pleasurable reading. It isnt much different today on how we solve crime in the western world.
The community also knew what the consequences of causing a crime was and that indeed it was wrong to omit a crime. There were many differences between variant texts, Van Gulik considering the 19th Century version the best and basing his translation mainly on it. Though the book was written a thousand years later, van Gulik informs us that the Chinese justice system had not changed, indeed, did not change until the early 20th century.
Van Gulik subsequently wrote a successful series of mysteries with the same Judge Dee as protagonist. After reading wonderful classic Chinese poetry for years, recently I have been exploring classic Chinese prose, both fiction and nonfiction.
Was the author making a subversive point? The title given, "Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee", is what Van Gulik assumed the original work was called, before the second part was added. A little later, in The Chinese Lake Murdersa third criminal, Tao Gan, an itinerant confidence trickster and swindler, similarly joins.Robert Van Gulik wrote several books featuring the T'ang dynasty judge (who served as investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury in criminal cases) Dee, _The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee_ an /5(46).
Here are three authentic 18th-century Chinese detective novels, chronicling interwoven cases solved by the celebrated historical magistrate Judge Dee in the 7th century.
The Judge Dee Mysteries. many long-delayed court cases, and he stood up, even against the emperor, when he felt that pun-ishments were unduly harsh in. Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee has 1, ratings and reviews.
Henry said: This first Judge Dee novel (a historical figure, Di Renjie, A.D.d 4/5. In by reading the Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee, I gained a perspective of the people and culture of China.
This book showed the analysis of Chinese saw and the background of Chinese history. He translated it into English and had it published in under the title Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee.
Van Gulik's stories This.Download