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Monkey and the Tiger [Hardcover]

Robert Van Gulik


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd (November 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434825522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434825523
  • Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 12.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 168 g

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent murder mysteries set in Ancient China Nov. 1 2000
By Ellen Whyte - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Judge Dee is an imperial magistrate who travels the country solving mysteries and murders. Not content merely to judge cases as they come to court, Judge Dee investigates crimes himself.

This book comprises of two short stories. In the first one, Judge Dee is upset to discover murder in his own home. It starts when he is watching a troop of monkeys playing in his garden and one of them drops an expensive emerald ring. Examining it, Dee realises the ring is encrusted with blood. When Judge Dee stumbles over a mutilated body hidden in his garden he decides to find out who is responsible. With the help of his assistant Tao Gan, Dee set out to investigate a nest of pawnbrokers, thieves and vagabonds.

In the second story, Judge Dee is travelling to the capital in order to receive a promotion thanks to his solving of the Chinese Nail Murders. Unfortunately the weather is fierce: Dee is separated from his staff and takes refuge in a large isolated country house. Here he finds that the family a mourning a young dead girl, seemingly a victim of a heart attack. The theft of 40 shining bars of gold, however, leads Dee to think there is more to the story. Beset by bandits, ghosts and superstitious hosts who believe that their troubles are foretold by the almanac and therefore immutable, Dee sets out to solve the mystery.

Judge Dee was practising in the 7th century but the writer, Robert Van Gulik, was a Dutch diplomat living in China in the early 20th Century. Interested in Chinese history, he decided to write a series of detective novel based old Chinese stories. Beautifully written, each Judge Dee story is a pearl of literature. The English is beautiful yet modern, easy to read yet evocative of the China that existed over 13 centuries ago.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judge Dee The Monkey and the Tiger Nov. 30 2008
By N. L. Gormley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the later Judge Dee books and shows it. I think van Gulik was running out of ideas at this stage. I didn't find it nearly as entertaining as the earlier books in the series. I'm glad to have it as I now have the entire series but I confess I was a bit disappointed. Still a fascinating series however and anyone interested in Judge Dee or Chinese literature in general should read it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TWO EXCELLENT FAIR-PLAY PUZZLES TO TEST YOUR WITS April 11 2013
By David R. Eastwood - Published on Amazon.com
Judge Dee, as many readers already know, was a real magistrate who lived in ancient China from 630 A.D. to 700 A.D. and is the central detective in a large series of crime novels and short fiction by Dutch diplomat-author Robert van Gulik (1910-1967). This book, THE MONKEY AND THE TIGER (1965), contains two novelettes that are very clever fair-play mysteries.

THE MORNING OF THE MONKEY, the first novelette, involves the murder of a middle-aged man who is found with four of his fingers cut off. The monkey in the title is a gibbon that came swinging into Judge Dee's garden with an emerald ring in one hand. After Dee tricks the gibbon into dropping the ring, he notices blood stains inside it--and the case begins. Within a short time Judge Dee discovers the dead owner of the ring in a small hut halfway up a nearby mountain. Thereafter, some of the clues are gathered by Dee himself and others by an assistant named Tao Gan, who is quite clever in many ways and who has many theories of his own. Most readers will be able to figure out one-third of this mystery, a few will be able to get two-thirds of it correct, but rare indeed are those who can match Judge Dee's abilities with this Puzzle.

The second novelette is THE NIGHT OF THE TIGER, which begins with Dee traveling south to a new position during a bad flood and being trapped, without his armed escort, on a small temporary island of high ground. One problem is that a gang of bandits is also on that island; another is that a young woman has apparently died of a heart attack--or perhaps been murdered--in the fortified country house where Judge Dee finds refuge and spends the night. On several occasions Dee, who is put up in her bedroom for the night, wonders if he could be seeing or hearing the dead woman's ghost. Could this be true? Could he be over-tired or dreaming? Again Dee investigates, and the clues are all there. And while most readers can solve what half of the clues mean, very few will be able to make proper sense of them all. And what about those bandits, who are preparing to attack at dawn with a huge battering ram?

Are YOU willing to accept the challenge?

Finally, both these Puzzles have what I'd call "value added": not only can you test your wits against those of detective Judge Dee and author van Gulik, but you can also experience some of the sincere melancholy and compassion that Judge Dee feels as he peels back the many layers of people's character and examines their diverse strengths and weaknesses in detail during his investigations.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TWO EXCELLENT FAIR-PLAY PUZZLES TO TEST YOUR WITS April 11 2013
By David R. Eastwood - Published on Amazon.com
Judge Dee, as many readers already know, was a real magistrate who lived in ancient China from 630 A.D. to 700 A.D. and is the central detective in a large series of crime novels and short fiction by Dutch diplomat-author Robert Van Gulik (1910-1967). This book, THE MONKEY AND THE TIGER (1965), contains two novelettes that are very clever fair-play mysteries.

THE MORNING OF THE MONKEY, the first novelette, involves the murder of a middle-aged man who is found with four of his fingers cut off. The monkey in the title is a gibbon that came swinging into Judge Dee's garden with an emerald ring in one hand. After Dee tricks the gibbon into dropping the ring, he notices blood stains inside it--and the case begins. Within a short time Judge Dee discovers the dead owner of the ring in a small hut halfway up a nearby mountain. Thereafter, some of the clues are gathered by Dee himself and others by an assistant named Tao Gan, who is quite clever in many ways and who has many theories of his own. Most readers will be able to figure out one-third of this mystery, a few will be able to get two-thirds of it correct, but rare indeed are those who can match Judge Dee's abilities with this Puzzle.

The second novelette is THE NIGHT OF THE TIGER, which begins with Dee traveling south to a new position during a bad flood and being trapped, without his armed escort, on a small temporary island of high ground. One problem is that a gang of bandits is also on that island; another is that a young woman has apparently died of a heart attack--or perhaps been murdered--in the fortified country house where Judge Dee finds refuge and spends the night. On several occasions Dee, who is put up in her bedroom for the night, wonders if he could be seeing or hearing the dead woman's ghost. Could this be true? Could he be over-tired or dreaming? Again Dee investigates, and the clues are all there. And while most readers can solve what half of the clues mean, very few will be able to make proper sense of them all. And what about those bandits, who are preparing to attack at dawn with a huge battering ram?

Are YOU willing to accept the challenge?

Finally, both these Puzzles have what I'd call "value added": not only can you test your wits against those of detective Judge Dee and author Van Gulik, but you can also experience some of the sincere melancholy and compassion that Judge Dee feels as he peels back the many layers of people's character and examines their diverse strengths and weaknesses in detail during his investigations.
4.0 out of 5 stars great mystery April 11 2014
By Katherine Flory - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great mystery, very well written, but very short. Over priced for something you can read in a day
But definitely worth reading

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