Poets and Murder: A Judge Dee Mystery

Poets and Murder: A Judge Dee Mystery

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 0226848760

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Judge Dee, the master detective of seventh-century China, sets out to solve a puzzling double murder and discovers complex passions lurking beneath the placid surface of academic life. A mild-mannered student is rumored to have been slain by a fox-demon, while a young dancer meets her death as she dresses to perform for the magistrate's illustrious dinner guests—an obese Zen monk revered for his calligraphy, a beautiful poetess accused of murder, and the past president of the imperial academy. To connect the present crimes with betrayals and adulteries from decades past, the clever judge must visit a high-class brothel and the haunted shrine of the Black Fox. From the moment the young scholar is found dead on the eve of the Autumn Festival, the pace never lets up.

"The China of old, in Mr. van Gulik's skilled hands, comes vividly alive again."—Allen J. Hubin, New York Times Book Review

"If you have not yet discovered Judge Dee, I envy you that initial pleasure. . . . For the magistrate of Poo-yang belongs in that select group headed by Sherlock Holmes."—Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

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him little time to pick out the main facts. Two months before, in late spring, the constables of the local tribunal had suddenly entered the White Heron Monastery, and started digging under the cherry tree in the back garden. They found the naked body of Yoo-lan's maidservant, a girl of seventeen. The autopsy showed that she must have died only three days previously, from a cruel whipping that had lacerated her entire body. Yoo-lan was arrested, and accused of wilful murder. She scornfully denied

robbers had murdered the maid, they would certainly have raped her first. He instructed the military police to search the entire province for the robbers who had attacked the farmstead, for their testimony was of course of vital importance. But all efforts to track the band down were in vain. Neither could the writer of the anonymous letter be traced. The Governor thought he had better wash his hands of this ticklish case, and referred it to the Metropolitan Court. Judge Dee closed the dossier,

she had looked her up to talk about the old days. 'I met Small Phoenix in the Sapphire Bower,' she added. 'A superb dancer, and a very bright girl.' 'She seemed a bit over-ambitious to me,' Judge Dee remarked. 'You men never understand women,' the poetess said dryly. 'Which is probably very fortunate-for us!' She cast an annoyed look at the Academician who had set out on an elaborate speech. 'Thus I am certain I speak for all of you when I tender our profound thanks to Magistrate Lo, gifted

that he had become a man of letters. Far too snooty to remember his aunt!' 'Why did your sister do away with herself, Cousin? Was she treated badly in the general's house?' 'No, she wasn't,' the woman replied slowly. 'She was treated well, especially after she had borne I-wen, a sturdy, good-looking boy. But my sister was . . .' 'She was a blasted . . .' Hwang began. But his wife interrupted quickly : 'Mind your nasty tongue!' And to the judge : 'She couldn't help it, really. Perhaps it was

district had further fortified him in this antagonistic attitude. Magistrate Lo chuckled. 'Sexton Loo doesn't belong to any crowd, Dee. Will be a real treat for you to meet him, elder brother! You'll positively enjoy talking with him. My head feels a bit better now. Let me have a look at those documents!' Judge Dee handed him the sheaf of papers, and sat back in silence for the remainder of the journey. III The tea-merchant's house was located in a lane so narrow that the palankeen could

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