Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Chinese Bell Murders

Judge Dee #1: “The Chinese Bell Murders” by Robert Van Gulik.  Actually, this is the third published Judge Dee work, though the first published in the US. It is also the first case of Judge Dee in Poo-yang Province. Judge Dee Jen-djieh comes to the Poo-yang tribunal in the 7th Century China, with his four aides – Lieutenants Ma Joeng, Chiao Tai, & Tao Gan, along with his close associate, Sergeant Hoong. Three mysteries are awaiting him as he replaces the previous Judge. The rape and murder of a young girl on Half Moon Street, mysterious going-on at the Temple of Boundless Mercy, and a feud between the Laing family and Lin Fan, in which a number of murders have been committed, as well as smuggling. How the judge unravels all the mysteries and brings the cases to a satisfying conclusion is a fun read, and we get to know Dee and his aides personally as their investigation progresses.

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