The Phantom of the Temple By Robert van Gulik

    I enjoy the historical details in this series. Additionally, this story has a pretty creepy atmosphere, as multiple scenes take place in an abandoned temple at night, haunted by a mysterious female figure. 0226848779 χωρις εκπληξεις αλλο ενα σταθερα πολυ καλο αστυνομικο του δικαστη τι... 0226848779 I read one Judge Dee mystery at each Seton Hill WPF Residency, and The Phantom of the Temple was the January 2017 selection. This one has Dee, his three wives, Sergeant Hoong and Ma Joong as the set of familiar characters. It's set in the imaginary district of Lan-fang, about a year after a notorious robbery of an Imperial gold shipment took place there.

    The case starts with a double murder, which seems to have taken place at an abandoned Buddhist temple outside the city walls. Decapitation is the common theme of the murders, and it was apparently done to confuse the authorities.

    There are colorful characters, lots of suspects, and puzzling clues. Dee provides a clever test for some of the suspects, and that's a nice touch. There's a scene in which Dee goes over the possible pairs of suspects, after he concludes that at least two people have to be involved, and that's a nice scene. I admit, though, that the reasoning at that point seemed to be pretty suppositious, and that weakened the drama.

    Still, it's a decent entry in the series; and it took my mind off all the pressures and distractions of my school duties. 0226848779 Like these books but it was a same that reference was made to putting item into an Envelope which was not invented till 1876. Items during the period of the book were folded and sealed. 0226848779 I find that this story was a bit eerie especially read in the night. gave me goosebums with the appearance of the white lady, Tala's fearsome God and the message from the grave.

    all were very interesting read indeed with loads of twist and turn.

    only downside that I found was the story was a bit short. could have elaborated more. as it is the explanation was a bit compacted.

    yes this have been an enjoyable reads 0226848779

    A.D. 670

    On a wooded hill in the Lan-fang district, a phantom stalks in a century-old Buddhist temple and three mysteries unfold-the vanishing of a wealthy merchant's daughter, the disapperance of twenty bars of gold, and the discovery of a decapitated corpse. In the Phantom of the Temple, the clever Judge Dee pieces together these strange occurrences to reveal one complex and gruesome plot. The Phantom of the Temple

    Read The Phantom of the Temple

    Readers will love this tale of Judge Dee’s time as the newly arrived magistrate in the backwater of Lan-fang in A.D. 670 before he was elevated to bigger and better posts. With his lieutenants Chiao Tai and Tao Gan off to the capital, Judge Dee relies on Sergeant Hoong and Ma Joong when a headless corpse and a separate head without a corpse turn up near an abandoned Buddhist temple. As usual in author Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee novel and in traditional Chinese detective stories, one case leads to two interrelated ones; I never guessed who the murderer was, and I devoured the novel. 0226848779 Outside the walls of a small frontier town, Lan-fang, just east of it, in remote western China, a headless body is found . In the Buddhist, Temple of the Purple Clouds, now deserted. Closed by the authorities, over a decade ago, for shall we say, activities that the great Buddha, would not approve of. The celebrated Judge Dee, investigates, being the new magistrate there, and quickly sees that the nearby head, doesn't match the corpse. The murderers, were trying to hide the identity, of the deceased. Why ? Obviously a second victim, is involved. In the seventh century, during the Tang dynasty, crimes are much harder to solve. But they do have a method that helps a lot. Personal persuasion, we will call it, a little pressure can get wonderful results, the judge, has no need for that, in this case. He just uses his renowned intellect. Further inspecting the property, by an old well at midnight, a brave man descends into the darkness. Inside Ma Joong, a lieutenant of Dee's, discovers another body, with the help of his lantern, again headless. And also unwelcome large rocks, falling down, at him. He has luck on his side, finding a hole in the interior, and barely saving his own precious skull. Complications arise, Imperial gold stolen last year and never recovered, and rumors of it being hidden, in the temple. After searching the building thoroughly, not one piece of gold is recovered, which frustrates the magistrate. A girl named Jade, daughter of a prominent citizen, vanished too, at the same time. All three cases, are somehow related to this mystery. The good judge, has only two assistants to help, giant Ma Joong and Hoong Liang, an old man, who has seen better days...One victim was a ruffian and the other apparently a servant, to a painter. What's more, a ghostly phantom, is going around the gardens of the temple, scaring the vagabonds living there, these are ancient days, superstitious times. Needing information, Dee sends Ma Joong, to the barbaric, northwest corner of town. The judge is a busy man, three wives and children to take care of and duties to attend. Where the assistant meets the beautiful, former high priestess, Buddhist sorceress now, Tala, feared in this quarter, by her people. The Tartar territory, is a short distance away , she gives him vague clues, in the nude, and bold Ma Joong, is uneasy...Still the danger persists, a constable is killed, another injured, by the phantom ? To the north of the Temple of the Purple Clouds, The Hermitage , a smaller shrine , was built also. Residing there is an Abbess, a widow named Mrs. Chang, now living the religious life, and her maid Spring Cloud ( daughter of a known criminal). Is there a connection to the murders ? The apparition, the evil Phantom, keeps appearing and floating around the perplexing, Temple gardens... 0226848779 While stumbling just a bit at the start, Phantom soon sweeps you into the vortex of murder, stolen gold, precious artifacts serving as clues, lusty betrayal, and, as always, dollops of immorality. In this case, with the latter, it's van Gulik's ever popular obsessions with adultery and hints of incest. All these things take place against a backdrop of a remote province on the outer edge of the Chinese empire. Plenty of atmosphere permeates the story and, if you've been reading these Judge Dee novels in chronological order, as I have, there is also the satisfaction of meeting up with familiar characters, while also being introduced in depth to some who have only been seen on the fringes. Namely, Dee's three wives. Otherwise, one of Dee's trusted lieutenants, Ma Joong, gets the lion's share of attention, as you come to know more about him than any of the others. Alas, once again, poor Ma Joong finds a potential girlfriend stolen from him by yet another younger man. Will he ever learn?

    What makes this story special? Perhaps not much, considering that the body of Dee stories are almost all of superb quality. But some things do stick out. Once again, van Gulik employs the practice of setting up three crimes to be solved simultaneously. In this novel, however, they will all merge into one lane. Instead of spreading out and the crimes confusing Dee, they coalesce and funnel into one grand conclusion. That and the promise of a ghostly phantom, as usual, is explained away rationally, even as the realization of death itself sees a treatment that is mystical and spiritual in what it promises--or threatens. 0226848779 This one is early years in his NW district of Lan-Fang on the border and an excellent read. Two of his lieutenants are gone on task elsewhere but Ma has eyes on the situation. Truly enjoying!

    Lieutenant Ma is the central action and character in this one that occurs 6 months after Maze and as such is right at the beginning of Judge Dee's long career. It is exceptional on at least 3 different counts.

    For one, you get an intense and deep understanding of the personalities beyond the cases being explored here. Ma most especially, but also Judge Dee at home and his 3 wives. They each also have their own expertise and roles in how the family thrives. They appear in some actions and even within the graphic drawings that I just love. And these women even have clothes on. Third Wife plays an active role and it is a celebration for 1st wife's birthday. You know their ages.

    The clothing stages of decoration etc. and styles (shapes) are base forms for the mores and function of work purposes. This entire dressing depth is also explored. The style that is current is almost like a Japanese kimono with wide robes, pants, sleeves. Everyone uses sleeves for carrying, much more than even pockets. But way beyond that, the different clothing is essential to authority recognitions and much else of identity. You see this with Ma as much as with the Judge. Changing the color or fabric or even kind of cap will make him recognized as varied in purpose and even within name or onus of the moment who his identity becomes or how people react to him.

    Also we learn more about the town itself beyond the excellent mapping provided. And how the tribunal in standard process works every workday morning. Also the border considerations with the Northwest slums / row and streets. Please note if you take these on that they were written in mid-century 1900's. Barbarians are called barbarians. Women without training or of lower classes pick their noses or sound beyond even replying to them uncouth. This is a reality latter 600's AD. Reading some reviews?

    You also get a conclusion to the love affair Ma had in book #1. He bought her out and also purchased a soup kitchen for her work. And married her off to a solid husband.

    And the next women in his life are completely on the scene as well. Ma is always a player, where ever he ends up. Here in the Phantom of the Temple- there is a Abbess and a seer/ witch. And also a testy, filled with spark aide to the Abbess with which he pairs for work and sleuthing purposes. They need to find a more than 1 year old hidden location. Dangerous too. Young Fang is getting larger roles (hired in Maze as a new young constable) and he is wounded during the worst of these.

    Lots of past theft and other deplorable duplicitous crimes uncovered in these 3 cases of crimes within a mish/mash. Judge Dee deciphers expertly. Unknowingly testing the reactions of jump back. And you get to meet the entire Dee family pictured in lovely art on top of it.

    4.5 stars. But I can't round it up because it was, if anything, too short. I wanted to hear the children's names too. They crowd around in the drawing at table- but only 1 small boy has his hand in his mother's hair flowers (1st wife) at the celebration. While his nurse/nanny holds him standing behind the seated family. 0226848779 οταν διαβαζω ιστορια του Δικαστη Τι νοιωθω σα να ειμαι home 0226848779