Brought back into print in the 1990s to wide acclaim, re-designed new editions of Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee Mysteries are now available.
Written by a Dutch diplomat and scholar during the 1950s and 1960s, these lively and historically accurate mysteries have entertained a devoted following for decades. Set during the T'ang dynasty, they feature Judge Dee, a brilliant and cultured Confucian magistrate disdainful of personal luxury and corruption, who cleverly selects allies to help him navigate the royal courts, politics, and ethnic tensions in imperial China. Robert van Gulik modeled Judge Dee on a magistrate of that name who lived in the seventh century, and he drew on stories and literary conventions of Chinese mystery writing dating back to the Sung dynasty to construct his ingenious plots.
Necklace and Calabash finds Judge Dee returning to his district of Poo-yang, where the peaceful town of Riverton promises a few days' fishing and relaxation. Yet a chance meeting with a Taoist recluse, a gruesome body fished out of the river, strange guests at the Kingfisher Inn, and a princess in distress thrust the judge into one of the most intricate and baffling mysteries of his career.
An expert on the art and erotica as well as the literature, religion, and politics of China, van Gulik also provides charming illustrations to accompany his engaging and entertaining mysteries.
Owners of mystery bookshops will tell you that there are several sorts of buyers: those who purchase on impulse or whim; genre addicts who buy paperbacks by the week and by the armful; and those who have caught up on canonical texts and regularly buy new novels by select authors in hardcover. Richard B. Schwartz belongs in the last group, with his own list of approximately seventy favorite writers.
Nice and Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction explores the work of these writers, building upon a reading of almost seven hundred novels from the 1980s and 1990s. By looking at recurring themes in these mysteries, Schwartz offers readers new ways to approach the works in relation to contemporary cultural concerns.
With sensitivity to a culture consisting of frontiers and borders, Schwartz examines the position of the vigilante in art and society, racial bridges and divides, the absence of divine presence and compensating narrative strategies, the unresolved nature of the crime plot and its roots in chivalric romance. The special importance of setting and the growing importance of grotesque humor in the fiction studied here are addressed by the author, as is the journalistic/instructional dimension of the field and the importance of crossover narratives.
This book is not only a study and appreciation of an important subgenre and its contemporary practitioners; it also utilizes both literary history and theoretical material. Information has been drawn from fanzines, from discussions with writers, booksellers, agents, and editors, and from the author’s own extensive knowledge of literature and American culture.
Nice and Noir is wide-ranging but neither ponderous nor lugubrious. Its language is accessible but not simplistic. The book will have a broad appeal—both to academics and to general readers with some interest in American studies and popular culture.
Nobody Runs Forever opens a three-part saga with a job at a poker game that sours into a necktie party. When Parker goes in on a messy scam—stealing an armored car—with someone he barely knows, as usual the amateurs get in the way of the job. From a nervous ex-con and his well-intentioned sister to a bank manager's two-timing wife and a beautiful, relentless cop, too many people have their hands too close to Parker's pie. Even when he sees the job turning bad, he can’t let go of the score—and there just might be nowhere left to run...