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The Chinese Bell Murders

The Chinese Bell Murders
Title: The Chinese Bell Murders
Author:
Оценка: 3.1 of 5, readers votes - 35
Genre: detective
Annotation:It's never easy reviewing a classic; obviously it is good or it wouldn't be regarded as such, and if it has just been reprinted then its charm and relevance still exist for readers today. Since its publication in 1958, Robert Van Gulik's enchanting stories about the crime-solving exploits of historical character Judge Dee have delighted readers all over the world. If you haven't met Judge Dee yet, now is a good time to start! In this early novel he has just taken up a post as magistrate in the town of Poo-Yang and soon finds his work cut out for him. He has to solve a rape murder, root out what is going on in a remarkably wealthy Buddhist temple and sort out a complex family feud that dates back years.

Put like that, it sounds rather bald and Van Gulik is certainly not verbose; there isn't a spare word in here. This is the China of our dreams, a Willow Pattern plate come to life with paper lanterns, pagodas and the line between the mundane world and the supernatural agreeably blurred. The author's hand drawn plates add even more charm, but look closer and see that this is no cozy chopstick idyll. There is grit in here too, and the Judge is there to see that justice is done, complete with harsh penalties. This is a world of extremes, where torture is part of the judicial system, towns often need to be fortified and all are subject to the whims of the rulers. But, despite all this, the story never gets bogged down in these harsh details, and we are shown a world full of ordinary people going about their daily lives minus anachronisms. Modern political correctness has no place here. Add to all this a jolly good tale containing three cases entwined around each other, the likeable team of the Judge and his men plus some handy historical notes and you have the recipe for &a classic.

***

The great Chinese detective Judge Dee begins work on the most disquieting case of his career when he reviews the rape murder on Half Moon Street.
Table of Contents:

hide Table of Contents

  1. Robert Van Gulik The Chinese Bell Murders
  2. DRAMATIS PERSONAE
  3. INTRODUCTION
  4. FOR FURTHER READING
  5. First Chapter:
  6. A CONNOISSEUR HAS A STRANGE EXPERIENCE IN A CURIO SHOP; JUDGE DEE BEGINS HIS DUTIES AS MAGISTRATE OF POO-YANG
  7. Second Chapter:
  8. JUDGE DEE REVIEWS THE RAPE MURDER IN HALF MOON STREET; HE STARTLES SERGEANT HOONG BY AN UNEXPECTED STATEMENT
  9. Third Chapter:
  10. JUDGE DEE OPENS THE FIRST SESSION OF THE TRIBUNAL; TAO GAN RELATES THE STORY OF A BUDDHIST TEMPLE
  11. Fourth Chapter:
  12. A CANDIDATE OF LITERATURE IS HEARD IN THE TRIBUNAL; JUDGE DEE GOES TO INVESTIGATE THE SCENE OF A CRIME
  13. Fifth Chapter:
  14. TAO GAN SAYS HIS PRAYERS IN A BUDDHIST TEMPLE; THREE MONKS ARE DECEIVED BY A CLEVER SWINDLER
  15. Sixth Chapter:
  16. Seventh Chapter:
  17. MA JOONG DISCOVERS A DESERTED TAOIST SANCTUARY; A VIOLENT FIGHT TAKES PLACE IN THE TEMPLE YARD
  18. Eighth Chapter:
  19. JUDGE DEE DECIDES HE WILL VISIT HIS COLLEAGUES; HE EXPLAINS THE RAPE MURDER IN HALF MOON STREET
  20. Ninth Chapter:
  21. TWO MONKS VISIT THE JUDGE WITH AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE; HE RECITES A BALLAD AT A DINNER WITH MAGISTRATE LO
  22. Tenth Chapter:
  23. Eleventh Chapter:
  24. A NEWCOMER UNEXPECTEDLY MIXES HIMSELF IN THE FIGHT; THE LIEUTENANTS OF JUDGE DEE TAKE COUNSEL TOGETHER
  25. Twelfth Chapter:
  26. TWO TAOISTS DISCUSS ABSTRUSE DOCTRINES IN A TEA HOUSE; AFTER A FIERCE FIGHT MA JOONG FINALLY GETS HIS MAN
  27. Thirteenth Chapter:
  28. JUDGE DEE SOLVES THE RAPE-MURDER OF HALF MOON STREET; A CANDIDATE OF LITERATURE.MOANS OVER HIS CRUEL FATE
  29. Fourteenth Chapter:
  30. Fifteenth Chapter:
  31. THE JUDGE PAYS A VISIT TO A GENTLEMAN FROM CANTON; UNEXPECTEDLY TWO YOUNG LADIES ARRIVE IN HIS MANSION
  32. Sixteenth Chapter:
  33. A WEALTHY MERCHANT DRINKS TEA IN THE RECEPTION HALL; JUDGE DEE SETS OUT IN A FORTUNE-TELLERS DISGUISE
  34. Seventeenth Chapter:
  35. STRANGE VISITORS REPAIR TO THE TEMPLE AT DAYBREAK; IN FRONT OF THE BUDDHA HALL THE TRIBUNAL IS OPENED
  36. Eighteenth Chapter:
  37. A BEAUTIFUL GIRL DELIVERS STARTLING TESTIMONY; JUDGE DEE EXPLAINS THE CASE TO HIS LIEUTENANTS
  38. Nineteenth Chapter:
  39. JUDGE DEE DRAWS UP A STERN WARNING TO ALL CITIZENS; HE GOES TO VISIT THE TEMPLE OF TRANSCENDENTAL WISDOM
  40. Twentieth Chapter:
  41. AN EMPTY TAOIST TEMPLE POSES MANY A VEXING PROBLEM; A DESERTED COURTYARD DELIVERS UP ITS GRUESOME SECRET
  42. Twenty-first Chapter:
  43. THE JUDGE AND HIS FOUR MEN FALL INTO A WEIRD TRAP; A DANGEROUS CRIMINAL IS ARRESTED IN HIS OWN MANSION
  44. Twenty-second Chapter:
  45. THE HEAD OP THE ARCHIVES SETS FORTH AN OLD STORY; JUDGE DEE DISCOURSES ON THREE CRIMINAL CHARGES
  46. Twenty-third Chapter:
  47. A THOROUGH SEARCH IS INSTITUTED IN A LIBRARY; A CRAB RESTAURANT YIELDS AN IMPORTANT CLUE
  48. Twenty-fourth Chapter:
  49. A WILY CRIMINAL IS CAUGHT BY A CLEVER STRATAGEM; FOUR STATESMEN ENGAGE IN AFTER-DINNER CONVERSATION
  50. Twenty-fifth Chapter:
  51. TWO CRIMINAS ARE EXECUTED OUTSIDE THE SOUTHERN GATE; JUDGE DEE KNEELS DOWN BEFORE AN IMPERIAL INSCRIPTION
  52. POSTSCRIPT


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