May 28, 2009

Discovering Judge Dee

Posted in Books tagged , , , , at 2:37 pm by myrlinn

I recently found myself hooked on the Judge Dee detective series. I had never heard of Judge Dee, until I happened to spot The Chinese Gold Murders: A Judge Dee Detective Story at the local library. I’ve since read quite a few more of the Judge Dee series, and I’ve enjoyed them all.

What I really like about this series is that the novels are really adaptations of old Chinese detective stories, and gives you a glimpse into Chinese culture and the stories enjoyed by the Chinese some centures ago.¬† The author, Robert Van Gulik, was in fact a diplomat serving in Asia who himself discovered Chinese detective novels through his interest in Asian culture and literature. He didn’t start off wanting to be a writer of fiction, but decided to try his hand at it after realising that the stories deserve a wider audience. And that probably contributes quite a bit to the charm of the series — Van Gulik, being more of a scholar than a writer of fiction, tried to be as faithful as he could to the style and tone of the original Chinese detective novels he himself had enjoyed.

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