Necklace and Calabash (Judge Dee Mysteries, Book 16)
Robert Van Gulik
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Brought back into print in the 1990s to wide acclaim, re-designed new editions of Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee Mysteries are now available.
Written by a Dutch diplomat and scholar during the 1950s and 1960s, these lively and historically accurate mysteries have entertained a devoted following for decades. Set during the T'ang dynasty, they feature Judge Dee, a brilliant and cultured Confucian magistrate disdainful of personal luxury and corruption, who cleverly selects allies to help him navigate the royal courts, politics, and ethnic tensions in imperial China. Robert van Gulik modeled Judge Dee on a magistrate of that name who lived in the seventh century, and he drew on stories and literary conventions of Chinese mystery writing dating back to the Sung dynasty to construct his ingenious plots.
Necklace and Calabash finds Judge Dee returning to his district of Poo-yang, where the peaceful town of Riverton promises a few days' fishing and relaxation. Yet a chance meeting with a Taoist recluse, a gruesome body fished out of the river, strange guests at the Kingfisher Inn, and a princess in distress thrust the judge into one of the most intricate and baffling mysteries of his career.
was trickling down from the wound in his forearm, and his lack of training began to make him short of breath. Now he would have to finish off his opponent as quickly as possible. Lightning-quick, he shifted his sword from his right hand to his left. Like all superior swordsmen he was ambidextrous. Momentarily confused by the new angle of the attack, his opponent dropped his guard and the judge planted his sword in his throat. As the man fell backwards, Judge Dee rushed to help Master Gourd,
for her.' 'He was absolutely crazy about her! I am sure he began to gamble just because he wanted to be able to give her a present now and then!' 'Gambling is a sure way to lose money instead of making it,' the judge said absent-mindedly. He thought he felt a slight tug at the line. 'Tai Min won. But I think that Mr Lang let him win on purpose, the better to fleece him afterwards! That Lang gives me the creeps!' 'Lang? Where did they gamble?' 'Oh, Tai Min went to Lang's wing a few times.
listlessly : 'What did the gentlemen from the palace say about my escape from your prison?' 'They couldn't say very much, sir, because I took them down to the cell you were supposed to be in, and Liu had done a truly magnificent job there. I didn't like their mean look, however. Lang's murder gives me a good reason for posting six men here in the hall, sir. With strict orders to let no outsider in.' Judge Dee got up. 'Excellent,' he said, 'I need a good night's sleep.' Together the two men
physician. He knows a lot about medicinal herbs, and likes to talk about them.' 'As a matter of fact,' Judge Dee said, a little self-consciously, 'I didn't undeceive him. It saved me a long explanation, you see. Who is he, really?' 'A kind of philosopher; has been about here for the last four or five years. Lives like a hermit, in a hut somewhere in the forest. Have another cup, sir!' The captain scratched his nose. Darting a quick glance at the judge, he went on, 'Well, if you really want to
serving the guests in their rooms. I strangled her, in my office. Then I carried her here. . . . She . . .' He burst into sobs. 'In due time, Siew,' Judge Dee said, 'you'll arraign Wei on the charge of premeditated murder. You'll see that the murderer is locked up in jail, Liu.' He turned round on his heels, motioning the others to follow him. While they were crossing the hall he pointed at the counter. 'Take both drawers out, Siew, and bring them to the court hall. With all contents intact,