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Judge Dee Mysteries Books In Order

Publication Order of Judge Dee Mysteries Books

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (1949) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Bell Murders (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Gold Murders (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Lake Murders (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Nail Murders (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Haunted Monastery (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Pavilion (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Maze Murders (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lacquer Screen (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Emperor's Pearl (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Monkey and the Tiger (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Phantom of the Temple (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Willow Pattern (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in Canton (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Judge Dee at Work: Eight Chinese Detective Stories (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Necklace and Calabash (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Poets and Murder (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chronological Order of Judge Dee Mysteries Books

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (1949) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Gold Murders (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Lacquer Screen (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Judge Dee at Work: Eight Chinese Detective Stories (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Lake Murders (1960) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Monkey and the Tiger (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Haunted Monastery (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Bell Murders (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Pavilion (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Emperor's Pearl (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Poets and Murder (1968) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Necklace and Calabash (1967) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Maze Murders (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Phantom of the Temple (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Chinese Nail Murders (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Willow Pattern (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in Canton (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Judge Dee Mysteries series is a series of suspense and historical mystery books written by one of the well known Dutch novelists named Robert Van Gulik. It is comprised of a total of 17 books, which were released between 1949 and 1968. Apart the main novels, the series also consists of several short stories. All the novels in this series feature the lead protagonist in the form of Judge Dee, who is depicted as a hardworking Chinese detective. Before the series began, author Robert was assigned a translation work of a Chinese book known as Dee Goong An. After finishing with the translation work, his interest in developing his own Chinese detective book grew. Subsequently, he started taking up up old cases of mystery, of China and wrote them in a manner that would get the attention of the modern readers. Eventually, author Robert went on to develop the character of Judge Dee and wrote many mystery books based on him. This character is actually based on a real life detective and statesman named Di Renjie who used to live during the 7th century. The first book that author Robert translated also featured Judge Dee’s character and it became the first book of this series too. It was released in 1949 under the title of ‘Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee’. Judge Dee was developed by author Robert in the form of a semi fictional character. He symbolizes a historical figure named Di Renji, who was a statesman and a county magistrate of the Tang court.

The overall series is set in the Tang Dynasty of China and depicts the various criminal cases that Judge Dee solved. As the judge in the ancient times in China used to work as investigating magistrates, author Robert has used this idea to describe Judge Dee and his working style. At the time of the Ming Dynasty in China, a folk novel was written that was set in the former times. It had a lot of anachronisms. When author Robert came across this, he read the original story that dealt with 3 cases simultaneously. This was quite unusual in relation to the mystery tales of China at that time. Author Robert felt that the plot of the original book lacked a supernatural element that could alienate the readers from the Western countries. Later, he translated it for the English readers in 1949 and saw a tremendous success. The success gave author Robert an idea to write his own mystery books containing the similar types of Ming anachronisms. He decided to retain the historical character and developed numerous other mystery cases around him that he eventually goes on to solve. Robert was careful in showing that Judge Dee gets newly appointed at the beginning of the series, which isolates him from his normal lifestyle enables him to maintain his objective throughout the series. The other important character introduced by author Robert in the series is Sergeant Hoong, who is shown as the only person who assists Judge Dee in solving the mysteries.

However, in one of the books of the series, Judge Dee is shown encountering a couple of highwaymen named Chiao Tai and Ma Joong. They make an attempt to rob Judge, but instead get impressed by his character and decide to give up crime. Later, they join him to help solve the mysteries. Similarly, another criminal named Tao Gan joins Judge Dee. He used to a swindler and trickster. When Judge gets promoted to the rank of a senior Metropolitan Judge at the end of his career, these men also get appointed to the official ranks in the civil service and the Army. After writing several books as a part of the series, author Robert a newspaper comic series featuring Judge Dee. In the books and comics, Judge Dee is shown having the responsibility of deciding the sentences of criminals and assessing their innocence of guilt. One of the punishments that Judge Dee frequently selects for the guilty criminals is slow slicing. And when he becomes merciful after seeing their pain and suffering, he orders a final cut, which renders the ceremony in an anticlimactic manner. A few other authors have also tried creating stories based on Dee’s character. They include Frederic Lenormand from France, Zhu Xiao Di from China, etc. A couple of television shows have been made in English featuring Judge Dee. First was made in 1969, that included 6 stories produced by Howard Baker for the Granada Television. The English actor named Michael Goodlife was chosen to play the role of Judge Dee in this TV show. Again in 1974, the second television show was made in which actor Khigh Dhiegh was chosen for Judge Dee’s role.

One of the initial books of the Judge Dee Mysteries series is ‘The Haunted Monastery’. It was released in the year 1961 by the Chicago University Press. The starting scene in the book shows that Judge Dee and his companions get stuck in a Taoist monastery while trying to seek refuge from a huge mountain storm. While there, Abbott Jade dies mysteriously after an ecstatic sermon is delivered by him. The death is regarded as a supernatural happening by the monks, but Judge Dee seems very sure that it is a murder. He recalls the alleged accidental deaths of 3 other young women in the same place and it makes him start seeking clues to solve all the murder cases in the monastery. Later, Judge Dee comes across a painting made by one of the victims. This painting reveals the reality behind the killings and propels Judge Dee on an adventurous quest for revenge and justice.

Another popular book written in the series by author Robert is titled as ‘The Chinese Nail Murders’. It was also published by the Chicago Press in 1977. At the beginning of this book, it is depicted that Judge Dee gets appointed as the magistrate of a remote frontier district located in the northern barren lands of the old Chinese Empire. This district is called as Pei-chow. No sooner does he reach the remote district than he comes to know about 3 disturbing and strange crimes. One of them is the theft of some precious jewels, while the second case is about the disappearance of a lady in love. In the third case, Judge Dee learns about the fiendish killing that involves a headless and nude body of a lady. When Dee finds out that all the three cases are linked to each other, he becomes even more curious. The clues related to all the 3 cases seem to be present in a popular game of that time, called as the Seven Board. Judge Dee decides to try and play the game in order to find the clues and solve the cases.

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