Following his translation of the original Judge Dee works, van Gulik began writing a series of new mysteries featuring Dee and his assistant Sergeant Hoong. The works build from van Gulik's experiences as a diplomat in China, and bring to life the ancient ways of that land. This story takes place in a Taoist refuge where three young women have been murdered.
Publisher: New Albion Press.
Author: Robert van Gulik
The abbot nodded slowly.
"I think I know what cases
Your Honour has in mind. Yes, there was a young lady from the capital, a
Miss Liu who fell ill here last year. The learned Master Sun personally
treated her, but..."
He suddenly broke off and looked
fixedly at the door. Judge Dee turned around in his chair to see who had
come in, but he only saw the door close again.
insolent actors!" the abbot exclaimed angrily. "They come
barging in without even bothering to knock!" Noticing Judge
Dee's astonished look, he quickly resumed: "As usual we have
hired a small troupe of professional actors to assist the monks with the
staging of the mystery plays that are performed on our commemoration
day. They also play interludes, mainly acrobatics and juggling, and
provide other light entertainment. They are quite useful, but they know,
of course, nothing of monastic rules and behaviour." He angrily
stamped his staff on the floor and concluded: "Next time
we'll dispense with their services!"
"Yes," Judge Dee said, "I remember now that one girl
of the surname Liu died of a lingering disease. May I ask you, just to
get my record straight, who performed the autopsy?"
"Our prior, Your Honour. He is a qualified physician."
"I see. Wasn't there another girl who committed
"That was a sad case!" the abbot
replied with a sigh. "Quite an intelligent girl, but the very
excitable type, you know. She suffered from hallucinations. I
shouldn't have admitted her to begin with, but since she was so
eager and since her parents insisted... One night Miss Gao had been
very nervous, and she took poison. The body was returned to the family,
and she was buried in her native place."
third? I seem to remember that that was also a suicide, wasn't