My Small Kucing Blog

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Judge Dee series by Robert Van Gulik

Summary :

In this series, Judge Dee, magistrate in China during the Tang Dynasty (600s). He is a semi-fictional character based on the historical figure Di Renjie, magistrate and statesman of the Tang court.

The author Robert Van Gulik came across this character in a second-hand book store in Tokyo . He then translated the book into English and used the character and style to write his own Judge Dee historical mysteries.

Mainly it deals with mysteries and crimes that Judge Dee managed to solved in the beginning of his career.

My Comments :

I have come across this series when Bookalicious posted up that they have Judge Dee books in their store.

Intrigue, I search online and found some free ebooks. The first book that I read in the series was Poisoned Bride And Other Judge Dee Mysteries . After that book, I was hooked.

I have been fascinated by Justice Bao series in the television. Justice Bao is about a good judge that is just and fair in the old days. I knew there are a lot of Judge Bao stories in Chinese books but I have not come across and English book for that. Hence am very excited to find Judge Dee series carries the same tone of stories as Judge Bao.

What I love about is that each book have a complicated plot. Judge Dee does not only solve one mystery but sometimes 2-3 cases at the same time. Plot are usually beautiful and smooth. 

It was also very helpful that the author added in the background of the ancient justice systems in either beginning or at the end of each book so that readers can understand more why and how Judge Dee can come to the said solution and on how the author took the motive from real cases that had occurred before.

However , I feel that there are some scene especially the torture and execution maybe disturbing to some people. 

I was a bit disappointed at
The Chinese Nail Murders

as it have the similar plot and solutions

Poisoned Bride And Other Judge Dee Mysteries

The last 3 books were hard for me to read as they have a heavier tone. In these 3 books, Judge Dee have more senior position . He is getting old and feeling worn out(Sounds a bit like Sherlock Holmes in his last legs?). Sad to say that some of my favourite characters in the series started to disappear. 

Overall, am giving this series 4 stars out of 5 stars

For more information, check out the series in Goodreads. 


  1. Hi,

    I must admit that I haven't come across this author before, so I have just spent a lovely few minutes checking out both the man and his books.

    This sounds like an excellent series and one I would definitely define as 'classic' fiction reading.

    I notice that the series seems to have been republished lately, with a whole new set of fantastic covers, so I shall certainly be on the look out for the first book, as it appears to be a series which would be much better read in order.

    Thanks for the excellent feature and I hope that you have a good week.


    1. Thanks Yvonne for the quality comment . I do appreciate very much.

      Yes, I feel that this series is best read in sequence though each book can also be read individually .

      I love these type of stories . Hard to find. Too bad I can't read Chinese . Wish more will help to translate books like these to English

  2. Good morning,
    Thanks for sharing.... sounds interesting read... must look it up.... only available at Bookalicious?

    1. Hi Elaine.

      So far I have not browse in other bookstore. I got mine online but as always, I would love physical books more than e-books.

  3. I haven't read either of these titles, worth having a look into though, thank you


  4. A big fan of historical fiction as you know, my knowledge however is sadly lacking when it comes down to this time and place. This sounds like a series I'd enjoy, I'm hoping it is available here. Thanks for your review, apologies that I haven't visited for a while but I've been suffering with vertigo.


Thanks for dropping by my blog. Do drop a comment if you have feel like it.

Meantime, happy reading and have a nice day!