The Chinese Bell Murders (Judge Dee Mysteries, Book 3)
Robert Van Gulik
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Meet Judge Dee, the detective lauded as the "Sherlock Holmes of ancient China"
Fans of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series will thrill to this reissue of the first volume in Robert van Gulik's classic Chinese Murders series. The Chinese Bell Murders introduces the great Judge Dee, a magistrate of the city of Poo-yang in ancient China.
In the spirit of ancient Chinese detective novels, Judge Dee is challenged by three cases. First, he must solve the mysterious murder of Pure Jade, a young girl living on Half Moon Street. All the evidence points to the guilt of her lover, but Judge Dee has his doubts. Dee also solves the mystery of a deserted temple and that of a group of monks' terrific success with a cure for barren women.
vain the night before ---' Judge Dee gave a sign to the headman of the constables, who immediately hit Candidate Wang in the mouth. 'Stop your lies,' the judge barked, 'and be careful to confine yourself to answering my questions!' He addressed the constables: 'Show me the scratches on this man's body!' The headman gripped Wang by the collar of his robe and pulled him to his feet. Two constables roughly tore his robe down. Wang screamed with pain for his back was still raw from the whipping
duty!' Judge Dee noted that the shop stood on the corner of a very narrow side street and that its sidewall had no windows. The godown stood about ten feet behind it. The window of the garret where the girl had lived was visible a few feet above the top of the wall that connected the shop with the godown. On the opposite side of the alley rose the high, blind sidewall of the guild house on the other corner. Turning round and looking towards the street Judge Dee saw that Tailor Loong's shop was
riches in one and the same blow. 'Lin Fan's shady deals had brought him into contact with the Cantonese underworld. Thus when he heard that Liang Hoong was going to travel to a neighbouring town to collect a vast sum of gold, partly for himself, but for the greater part on behalf of three other large Cantonese trade concerns, he hired brigands who intercepted Liang Hoong outside the city on his return. They killed him and stole the gold.' Judge Dee looked gravely at his lieutenants. Then he
city is held responsible for this outrage. The Government originally contemplated severe punitive measures. Having taken cognisance, however, of the special circumstances of the case, and of the recommendation for leniency proffered by the magistrate of Poo-yang, the Government have decided that, in this particular case and as an exception, mercy shall prevail over justice. The Government confine themselves to a severe warning.' A murmur of gratitude rose from the crowd. Some started to cheer
vermilion ink, two writing brushes, and a number of thin bamboo spills in a tubular holder. These staves are used to mark the number of blows that a criminal receives. If the constables are to give ten blows, the judge will take ten markers and throw them on the floor in front of the dais. The headman of the constables will put apart one marker for every blow. One will also see on top of the bench the large square seal of the tribunal, and the gavel. The latter is not shaped like a hammer as in