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Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An): An Authentic 18th-Century Chinese Detective Novel | [Robert van Gulik]

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An): An Authentic 18th-Century Chinese Detective Novel

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. One of the most celebrated of these was Judge Dee, who lived in the seventh century.
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Publisher's Summary

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. One of the most celebrated of these was Judge Dee, who lived in the seventh century.

This book, written anonymously in the 18th century, interweaves three of Judge Dee's most baffling cases: a double murder among traveling merchants, the fatal poisoning of a bride on her wedding night, and the suspicious death of a shop keeper with a beautiful wife.

The crimes take him up and down the great silk routes, into ancient graveyards where he consults the spirits of the dead, and through all levels of society, leading him to some brilliant detective work.

(P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  •  
    Elizabeth Port Townsend, WA, United States 04-30-12
    Elizabeth Port Townsend, WA, United States 04-30-12

    eas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More Judge Dee Please!"
    If you could sum up Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An) in three words, what would they be?

    Cross-Cultural, Complicated, Clever-- add Chinese!


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The judge switched from case to case and they all seemed unrelated and insoluble, but in the end, although the crimes occurred over great distances at times, they seemed to all fit together into an intricate pattern. And the Chinese practically invented paranormal mysteries! They are full of dreams and ghosts and visions of the afterlife. The most wonderful thing about these books though is not just that the stories are great mysteries, the atmosphere is evoked so well and the characters so memorable, but that it is based on a real historical person and the real ancient Chinese entertainment form of detective stories. The explanation of how these stories are converted to suit Western tastes is fascinating. I read these books in paper before taking a Chinese History class and found that the information on ancient Chinese culture contained in the stories was great preparation for the class.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    I liked the old guard who showed Judge Dee and his other officers to Turnip Pass.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I found it very moving that the rule at the time--which Judge Dee was prepared to follow--was that if a prisoner was tortured and turned out to be innocent, the judge and his officers were to be executed in the prisoner's place. I imagine corruption of justice occurred anyway among lesser officials but if you followed the rules, you would be very careful. I wish today's justice were as scrupulous.


    Any additional comments?

    I want more Judge Dee audio books on audio please. Their cross cultural background and atmosphere is even better than the stories themselves and is the sort of thing that narration immerses you in even more completely than the written word.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ellen 11-18-10
    ellen 11-18-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "celebrated cases of judge dee"

    interesting historically about china in the 18th century; if you are looking for a good detective read try someone else;

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • mollyeyre
    Leicestershire UK
    2/6/12
    Overall
    "So awful it was almost good!"

    Well, this is listed as illustrating 'some brilliant detective work' .... well the judge seems to be ruled by what he 'felt' about the particular accused - no logical evidence shown - in fact it was so 'naff' that I almost enjoyed it! He was guided to his judgements by an explicit dream - which had to be explained to him by his sergeant.

    One REALLY irritating point though - the narrator would insist on talking about the 'constipals' rather that 'constables' and I found this really annoying.

    I bought this as part of an offer - thank goodness I didn't go to town using up my valuable credits. I really wouldn't recommend this to anyone!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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