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The Emperor's Pearl: A Judge Dee Mystery by…
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The Emperor's Pearl: A Judge Dee Mystery (original 1963; edition 1994)

by Robert van Gulik

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328533,702 (3.87)11
Member:aluvalibri
Title:The Emperor's Pearl: A Judge Dee Mystery
Authors:Robert van Gulik
Info:University Of Chicago Press (1994), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, mystery, China, R7/08

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The Emperor's Pearl by Robert van Gulik (1963)

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Showing 5 of 5
This book is a volume from the Judge Dee mystery series. Judge Dee lived from 630 to 700 b.c.e. and the books are set in the Tang dynasty. Judge Dee was a county magistrate in Poo-Yang a prosperous area on the Grand Canal. He was responsible government affairs, including criminal investigations, in his county. I enjoy the study of Imperial China and these books give a good feel for what life was like in that era.
In this book there are four murders instead of the usual three. Judge Dee solves the murders using logic to sift through clues and come to a conclusion. He works with Sergeant Hoong, an old family retainer, who he tries out his theories on. The logical approach is straight from Confucianism and Judge Dee provides a good example of Confucianism in action.
There is an element of the supernatural which appear in many of the Judge Dee books. It adds some flavor of the unusual to the story. It you want to know the story of the Emperor's Pearl you will have to read the book.
China during the Tang dynasty was a very cosmopolitan society with people from all over East Asia. Miss Violet Liang is a good example. She is about 6' tall and a trained fighter from Mongolia who shows her talents in the book. She had been a favorite in the Imperial Palace who ended up in Poo-Yang due to politics in the Imperial palace.
I always enjoy these books and hadn't read this one in a long time. A nice way to end the year. ( )
  wildbill | Dec 30, 2011 |
I've never really been a fan of mystery books, but got this out of my recent interest in Chinese culture. I felt like the story itself was rather bland and left me feeling rather unfulfilled. The style of the narrative was also a bit strange in that Judge Dee would talk at length with his constable about his theories and suspects, yet it felt somewhat played. Perhaps this is due to the author trying to give it an authentic Chinese feeling. However, it did provide a glimpse into the life in China during the time period of Judge Dee (Tang dynasty, if I remember correctly), so in that it was a success. I doubt I will read more of the Judge Dee books. ( )
  rboyechko | Mar 3, 2011 |
Another terrific Judge Dee mystery. From start to finish the reader is immersed in the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of seventh century China, in this case Poo-yang on the night of the annual Dragon Boat festival. An accident during the boat race is revealed to be murder and as the body count mounts up, so too does the list of suspects: a businessman, a physician, a collector and all of them with connections to the antiques trade. Add to this a measure of political intrique related to a missing and highly valuable Pearl belonging to the Emperor, a neglected River Goddess upon whose land the murders occur, local superstition, beautiful women and even a female wrestler and the mystery deepens. The esteemed and highly intelligent Judge Dee works through the list of suspects with his usual efficiency, attention to detail, rational deductions and insightfulness. The trap he sets to catch the cuprit was so atmospheric it had me reading under the bed covers. This is the fifth Judge Dee mystery I have read and they have all been great reads. Highly recommended particulary of fans of historical mysteries. ( )
  historymystery | Apr 9, 2010 |
See the Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee by Van Gulik
  primarysource | Mar 16, 2007 |
#8 in the series finds our intrepid magistrate Dee (a real person, fictionalized in this series) in a city called Poo-Yang, where two seemingly unrelated deaths occur. Of course, Judge Dee & his assistants take on both of them, along with the theft of a valuable pearl whose recovery may save the country from political mayhem.

Again, don't start with this one; make sure you read them in order. They're all fun, but the first few books bring in the characters & you get their backstories along with the mystery.

I'd recommend this one to those readers who like historical mystery, or to those who like books set in China. Fun and easy, always involving some bit of political intrigue. ( )
  bcquinnsmom | Jun 13, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gulik, Robert vanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellis, ToniCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindlog, EdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226848728, Paperback)

It all begins on the night of the Poo-yang dragonboat races in 699 A.D.: a drummer in the leading boat collapses, and the body of a beautiful young woman turns up in a deserted country mansion.  There, Judge Dee—tribunal magistrate, inquisitor, and public avenger—steps in to investigate the murders and return order to the Tang Dynasty.
 
In The Emperor’s Pearl, the judge discovers that these two deaths are connected by an ancient tragedy involving a near-legendary treasure stolen from the Imperial Harem one hundred years earlier. The terrifying figure of the White Lady, a river goddess enshrined on a bloodstained altar, looms in the background of the investigation. Clues are few and elusive, but under the expert hand of Robert van Gulik, this mythic jigsaw puzzle assembles itself into a taut mystery.
 
“If you have not yet discovered Judge Dee and his faithful Sgt. Hoong, I envy you that initial pleasure which comes from the discovery of a great detective story. For the magistrate of Poo-yang belongs in that select group of fictional detectives headed by the renowned Sherlock Holmes.”—Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times
 
“The title of this book and the book itself have much in common. Each is a jewel, a rare and precious find.”—Atlanta Times
 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:17 -0400)

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