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Judge Dee presided over his imperial Chinese court with a unique brand of Confucian justice. A near mythic figure in China, he distinguished himself as a tribunal magistrate, inquisitor, and public avenger. Long after his death, accounts of his exploits were celebrated in Chinese folklore, and later immortalized by Robert van Gulik in his electrifying mysteries.

In The Phantom of the Temple, three separate puzzles—the disappearance of a wealthy merchant's daughter, twenty missing bars of gold, and a decapitated corpse—are pieced together by the clever judge to solve three murders and one complex, gruesome plot.
“Judge Dee belongs in that select group of fictional detectives headed by the renowned Sherlock Holmes. I assure you it is a compliment not given frivolously.”—Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

Robert Van Gulik (1910-67) was a Dutch diplomat and an authority on Chinese history and culture. He drew his plots from the whole body of Chinese literature, especially from the popular detective novels that first appeared in the seventeenth century.

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