China, a “folk novel” was written set in former times, but filled short detective stories in english pdf anachronisms. Chinese mystery tales, a plot that for the most part lacked an overbearing supernatural element which could alienate Western readers.
This gave van Gulik the idea of writing his own novels, set with the similar Ming anachronisms, but using the historical character. Van Gulik was careful in writing the main novels to deal with cases wherein Dee was newly appointed to a city, thereby isolating him from the existing lifestyle and enabling him to maintain an objective role in the books. Initially Dee is assisted only by his faithful clerk, Sergeant Hoong, an old family retainer. Dee’s initial appointment and first criminal cases, the judge encounters two highwaymen, euphemistically called “men of the greenwood”, Ma Joong and Chiao Tai, who attempt to rob him but are so impressed with his character that they give up their criminal careers and join his retinue on the spot. Tao Gan, an itinerant confidence trickster and swindler, similarly joins. Judge Dee ends his career being promoted to the position of senior Metropolitan Judge in the capital, and his assistants obtain official ranks in the Army and civil service.
Van Gulik also wrote a series of newspaper comics about Judge Dee in 1964-1967, which totalled 19 adventures. The first four were regular balloon strips, but the later 15 had the more typically Dutch textblock under the pictures. Judge Dee, naturally, is responsible for deciding sentences as well as assessing guilt or innocence, although van Gulik notes in the stories that all capital punishments must be referred to and decided by officials in the capital. Several other authors have created stories based on Van Gulik’s Judge Dee character.
Zhu Xiao Di has no relation to Robert van Gulik but tried to stay faithful to the fictionalized history of van Gulik’s Judge Dee. The following novels and short stories were published in English by van Gulik. Judge Dee Chronology” detailing Dee’s various posts in specific years and stories set in these times. Judge Dee was the magistrate in Poo-yang.