Dick Grune's Annotated Literature Lists

Cult

Literature references and annotations by Dick Grune, dick@dickgrune.com. Last update: Sun Mar 5 15:02:32 2017.
These references and annotations were originally intended for personal use and are presented here only in the hope that they may be useful to others. There is no claim to completeness or even correctness. Each annotation represents my understanding of the text at the moment I wrote the annotation.
No guarantees given; comments and content criticism welcome.

* Paul Coelho, "Manuscript Found in Accra", Harper Collins, 2012, pp. 194.

* Roger Leloup, "Le maléfice de l'améthyste", in French: The Curse of the Amethyst, Dupuis, 2012, pp. 48.

* Grace Dent, "Diary of a Chav -- Vol. 6: Keeping it Real", Hodder Children's Books, London, 2009, pp. 228.
Shiraz has her A-levels and an offer from Oxford, but under the machinations of her mother, the loyalty of her boy friend, and her bouts of self-doubt even she cannot keep it real, and she ends up on front of the altar. But then the worst chav of the series steps in, drawing Shiraz back into reality. The wedding is cancelled, and Shiraz writes the last page of her Diary of a Chav in her student room in Oxford.

* Robert Twigger, "Dr. Ragab's Universal Language", Picador, 2009, pp. 265.
10% Illuminati, 20% Carlos Castaneda, 70% drivel. In the present, an Englishman with a bunker fixation visits a bunker in Bavaria, where the owner of the bunker hands him a post-WWII manuscript by the owner's uncle, who, though being clever enough to have lived through WWII in Bavaria without getting involved, was stupid enough to let himself be caught and thrown into said bunker by a band of criminals roaming the land in the wake of the US army. No explanation is given of this discrepancy (although it seems to me the uncle had help from the author in his stupidity).
The manuscript describes the visits of the uncle to Cairo and Dr. Ragab in the 1930s, the atrocities the criminals subject him to, and his totally improbable escape. The manuscript fizzles out, which sets the Englishman on a couple of trips to Cairo to get answers, but as far as I can see, he fails. On the last page his life seems to take a turn for the better through sheer coincidence.
It says on the cover: "The charismatic Dr. Ragab steals every scene he's in...". Perhaps, but he is in very few scenes, and his Universal Language in even fewer. This book is not going to take up space on my book shelves.

* Grace Dent, "Diary of a Chav -- Vol. 5: The Fame Diaries", Hodder Children's Books, London, 2008, pp. 208.
More by accident than of her own will, Shiraz reaches a certain fame as the --short-lived-- assistant of a TV celebrity. The job doesn't bring any pay, but she still leaves the job with a goodly sum of honestly earned money, which allows her to start doing her A-levels.

* Grace Dent, "Diary of a Chav -- Vol. 4: The Ibiza Diaries", Hodder Children's Books, London, 2008, pp. 177.
Shiraz gets herself in serious trouble on Ibiza, only to be bailed out by her girl friend's father and her on-and-off boy friend.

* Grace Dent, "Diary of a Chav -- Vol. 3: Too Cool for School", Hodder Children's Books, London, 2008, pp. 229.
Shiraz fails at several jobs, but lands herself a job as a blogging columnist.

* Grace Dent, "Diary of a Chav -- Vol. 2: Slinging the Bling", Hodder Children's Books, London, 2007, pp. 215.
Shiraz has a fling with a posh boy form a posh family who turns out to be too much of a fake to her taste.

* Grace Dent, "Diary of a Chav -- Vol. 1: Trainers V. Tiaras", Hodder Children's Books, London, 2007, pp. 233.
First in a series describing the tumultuous life of Shiraz Bailey Wood, self-declared non-chav from Goodmayes, pupil at the Mayflower Academy. The point of the series is to show in a very entertaining and humorous way that you don't need to end up as a 14-year old pregnant drug addict, even in Goodmayes; and Shiraz shows the way. The Mayflower Academy seems to be loosely modelled on the Mayfield School and College in Goodmayes, both in name, position, and description. The Urban Dictionary was a great help to me in reading these books.
In the first book Shiraz's family threatens to fall apart because her older sister has run away and disappeared in the dark side of London. Shiraz saves the family by getting them on a TV family healing show.

* Roz Kaveney, "Reading the Vampire Slayer: The Complete, Unofficial Guide to 'Buffy' and 'Angel'", Tauris Parke, 2004, pp. 288.

* Keith Topping, "Slayer: The Last Days of Sunnydale", Virgin, 2004, pp. 231.

* Paul Ruditis, "Buffy the Vampyre Slayer -- The Watcher's Guide -- Vol. 3", Spotlight, New York, 2004, pp. ~350.
Includes the full script of "Restless", with comments by the author.

* Paul Ruditis, Diana G. Gallagher, "Angel -- The Casefiles -- Vol. 2", Simon Spotlight, New York, 2004, pp. 295.

* Jana Riess, "What Would Buffy Do? -- The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide", Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2004, pp. 185.

* James B. South (ed.), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy -- Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale", Open Court, 2003, pp. 335.

* Glenn Yeffeth, "Seven seasons of Buffy", Benbella, Dallas, Tx., 2003, pp. 205.

* Nancy Holder, Jeff Mariotte, Maryelizabeth Hart, "Angel -- The Casefiles -- Vol. 1", Simon Pulse, New York, 2002, pp. 404.

* Various authors, "Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 1", Pocket Pulse, New York, 2001, pp. 280.

* Nancy Holder, "Buffy the Vampyre Slayer -- The Watcher's Guide -- Vol. 2", Pocket Books, New York, 2000, pp. ~450.

* Roger Leloup, "L'Écume de l'aube", in French: The Foam of Dawn, Casterman, 1999, pp. 116.
The book consists of two parts. The first part is a slow-paced story detailing Yoko's youth and family history; it is a must for any serious Yoko fan. Part two starts when the translucent pearl is found missing, and leads us quickly from event to event. It is a story of treachery and deceit, cunning, love and conscience. It leaves Yoko a wiser woman, ready for the world and with a great thirst to discover it, as she says on the last page. The drawings are superb, as expected.

* Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder, "Buffy the Vampyre Slayer -- The Watcher's Guide -- Vol. 1", Pocket Books, New York, 1998, pp. 298.

* Kathleen Tracy, "The Girl's Got Bite -- The Unofficial Guide to Buffy's World", Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, 1998, pp. 246.
History of the film and the series; analyses of the characters; biographies of the actors and writer; analyses of the episodes of the first two seasons. Quite worth reading.

* Max de Bruijn, "Handboek voor de nerd", in Dutch: Handbook for the Nerd, Prometeus, 1997, pp. 128.
More a handbook for friends and family of the nerd (geek), than for the nerd him/herself, who can usually be trusted to know how to behave as a nerd. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious description of the phenomenon 'nerd', with examples from history and (Dutch) politics.

* Patrick Macnee, with Dave Rogers, "The Avengers and Me", Titan Books, London, 1997, pp. 144.
Pictorial autobiography, showing great ambiguity in the appreciation of his own work, in the relationships with his co-actors, and the British public school system.

* Marc Okrand, "StarTrek Klingon for the Galactic Traveler", Pocket Books, New York, 1997, pp. 264.
Cultural and linguistic guide; hardly any grammar, but has additional vocabulary.

* John Peel, "Evolution", Dr. Who Books, London, 1994, pp. 259.

* Roger Leloup, "L'astrologue de Bruges", Dupuis, 1994, pp. ~66.
46 pages of comic strip + about 20 pages of background material.

* Bunny Yeager, "Betty Page -- Confidential", St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994, pp. 128.

* Steve Roberts, "Max Headroom -- 20 Minutes into the Future", Vintage, 1986, pp. ~40.

* Robert Anton Wilson, "Masks of the Illuminati", Pocket Books, 1981, pp. 294.
The book in which almost nothing is what it seems, in which on page one we meet the villain of the piece but we do not know it, in which there are three killings but no dead bodies, and in which the devil himself hunts poor Sir John Babcock, student of the esoteric and of secret societies, down a railroad track in Zurich, Switzerland.
Which brings Sir John, completely overwrought, barging into a local beer house, to be received by Albert Einstein and James Joyce, who were just having a friendly chat. Sir John then, over the span of several days, recounts how in his studies he met his spiritual guide Mr. George Cecil Jones and then Scottish priest Reverend Charles Verey, how the Illuminati closed in on them, and how he lost first Verey and the Jones, leaving him without protection from the evil that roams the astral plane.
Then Einstein with physical logic and Joyce with romantic logic deduce exactly what had happened and how (with mirrors...).
The last page sees Sir John leave for Carl Jung, to analyse the events with psychological logic.

* Robert Anton Wilson, "Schrödinger's Cat -- The Universe Next Door / The Trick Top Hat / The Homing Pigeons", Pocket Books, 1979 / 1981 / 1981, pp. 256 / 254 / 201.
See the Illuminatus! trilogy.

* Bob Toben, "Space-Time and Beyond", E.P. Dutton, New York, 1975, pp. 173.

* Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson, "Illuminatus! -- The Eye in the Pyramid / The Golden Apple / Leviathan", Dell, 1975, pp. 304 / 272 / 253.
The Wikipedia calls it a "non-linear" narrative; the term is justified. It also calls it "thematically dense"; also justified. The basic premise seems to be that different characters can be different quantum states of the same person, as long as the have the same initials, which makes summarizing the books a tight-rope act from which I shall refrain. Quantum leaps can occur at any time, so the books (and the Schrödinger's Cat trilogy) can be considered a network of locally and logically coherent text fragments connected by quantum leaps, with an occasional conspiracy theory thrown in.
Very readable and re-readable.

* Malaclypse the Younger, "Principia Discordia", Loompanics, Port Townsend, Wa., ~1970, pp. ~80.

* Hedy Lamarr, "Ecstasy and Me -- My Life as a Woman", Fawcett Crest, Greenwich, Conn., 1966, pp. 256.
True to the subtitle "My Life as a Woman", the book reports only about those aspects of and events in the life of the author, Hedy Lamarr, in which the fact that she was a woman played a major role: marriages, sex, and movies, in about equal parts and in considerable detail. Her achievements and her patent in electronics are not mentioned at all, not even hinted at.
Although the over-all story is roughly chronological, there are many flash-forwards and flash-backs. Whether the narrative can hold up against these is a matter of opinion; I could have done with a little less. The main time line starts with her birth and shows repeatedly how here life was influenced by the movie "Ecstasy" she made when she was 18 years old (hence the title). It ends with the infamous shoplifting affair, of which she gives a vague account, clearly unwilling to tell the whole truth, but equally clearly unwilling to lie. This tension is, to a lesser extent, discernible throughout the entire book. The book ends with about eighty small paragraphs of personal wisdom and advice.
Not high literature but definitely a good read, if you are interested in H.L. or in the Hollywood movie industry of 1935-1965.

* Robert H. van Gulik, "Amsterdam: Een gegeven dag, Amsterdams mysterie", , , pp. .

* Robert H. van Gulik, Frits Kloezeman (cartoon drawings), "Judge Dee Mysteries", or in Dutch: De rechter Tie mysteries, , 1956-,

**** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ****
The Judge Dee mysteries are a set of very complex detective stories, covering the career of Judge Dee (a historical figure, 630-700 A.D.) from his first appointment as a magistrate in 663, until his appointment as an Imperial Judge in 681.
There are some 18 books, many of them containing more than one story, and many stories have several fairly independent but interwoven plots. All have been published in Dutch and in English, sometimes under different titles; some were originally written in Chinese. Most stories have also been published as comics (strip cartoons, European-style, drawings with text underneath); these are "soft" versions of the originals: all nudity, sex, and cruelty has been removed. The stories have also been simplified: in all that I have seen, the Judge has only one assistant when he usually has three or four. There are also some comics in the American sense, with text balloons superimposed over the cartoon drawings of Frits Kloezeman, and empty space below the drawings, where the text should have been.
The books consist of a main series of five books, and a host of book-size and shorter stories assembled in various ways in books by various publishers. The main series follows the Judge through his career as a district magistrate, until his appointment at the Imperial Court, each book taking place shortly after his arrival at a new post. The five books are all titled "The Chinese XXXX Murders", with XXXX = {Gold, Lake, Bell, Maze, Nail}. The Dutch versions have unrelated titles, which include the names of the locations, modified to alliterate in Dutch. They all start with a short section in which a gentleman of leisure in the 17-th century (Ming period) contemplates the adventures of Judge Dee in the 7-th, making these books 'frame stories'.
The books and their component stories have been published and republished in a bewildering variety of combinations and under various titles, especially in the comics; one internet bookshop, "De Graspeel", boasts 492 different books by and about van Gulik.
The books are presented here in Dee-chronological order; for publication order see the Wikipedia in Dutch and in English, and the various Judge Dee / Rechter Tie web sites.
[Note: China in those days was an Empire, gouverned by the Emperor; it consisted of about ten Provinces, each gouverned by a Gouvernor; each Province consisted of about ten Prefectures, each gouverned by a Prefect; and each Prefecture consisted of about ten Districts, each gouverned by a Magistrate. So Judge Dee was an official of the lowest ranking still answerable to the Emperor.
With China's size being about 10 million square kilometers, this makes a Province about 50% larger than France, and Dee's district about the size of a French "departement", roughly a 100 by a 100 kilometers. It seems that in ancient China like in Napoleon's France the smallest gouvernmental unit was determined by the requirement that "a gentleman may ride from anywhere in the departement to the capital in one day."]
**** SPOILER ALERT ****
This summary is full of spoilers. This may not be a disadvantage, since the Judge Dee Mysteries are equally or perhaps even more enjoyable when one knows the outcome.
* Fantoom in Foe Lai / The Chinese Gold Murders (663, Penglai)
(Pseudo)Frame: Three graduates in the capital try to persuade the fourth, Dee Renjie, to stay in the capital and pursue a classy career rather than become a district magistrate in some far-away town. Dee declines, and the rest is history.
Story: Judge Dee takes up his first post, replacing a judge who was murdered, poisoned. Is it the Koreans? Is it the Buddhist monastery? Is it a rich ship-owner?
There are three sub-plots, but they are so interwoven that it is barely correct to call them sub-plots:
1. De moord op de magistraat (The murder of the magistrate): It is obvious that the magistrate was murdered because he was investigating a smuggling affair, but smuggling what? Arms to Korea? In the end it turns out that the murder has also been solved in parallel by a very clever accountant from the capital, who noticed that someone was manipulating the gold market.
2. De verdwenen bruid (The lost bride): A bride on her way back from her last visit to her parents' house disappears, and turns up on a floating brothel. Neither she nor her kidnapper have anything to do with the magistrate's murder, but her wanderings supply the Judge with much-needed information.
3. De gekeelde klerk (The killed clerk): The clerk was killed by mistake by the lover of the girl in whose bed he, the clerk, was raping the bride he has just kidnapped. Hey! I got all that into one sentence!
* Vijf gelukbrengende wolken / Five Auspicious Clouds (663, Penglai)
contains three separate stories:
1. Vijf gelukbrengende wolken / Five Auspicious Clouds: a retired official tries to hide the murder of his wife by tampering with an incense-burning clock.
2. Hij kwam met de regen / He Came with the Rain / De moord in het moeras: a banker murders his partner who wants to elope with a deaf-mute march-dwelling girl, Wielewaal.
3. Vier vingers / The Morning of the Monkey: a shopkeeper, disguised as a vagabond and pursuing a female gang member, is accidentally murdered after having chopped off four fingers, and a precious ring slips off his severed hand.
* Het Chinese lakscherm / The Lacquer Screen (664, Penglai)
constains three interwoven plots:
1. A prefect thinks he has murdered his own wife and hid her in a swamp, inspired by the changing images on the Chinese lacquer screen.
2. A silk merchant is seen committing suicide, but is actually murdered by his wife and her lover.
3. Two scumbags of the Corporal's gang have their dirty hands in this in murky ways.
* Meer van Mien-Yuan / The Chinese Lake Murders (666, Han-yuan)
Frame: a gravely ill official meets in his delirious state the victim of a crime solved by Judge Dee; she tells him the whole story, which he then records for his young daughter just before he dies.
Story: Judge Dee finds Mien-Yuan, his second post, a disturbing town: it is not walled since it is under the protection of the Imperial Guard, and it is on the shore of a very creepy lake.
1. De verdronken danseres / The Drowned Dancer: A flower-boat dancer is drowned and murdered, because she knows about the plot to resurrect the nefarious White Lotus movement; this is the main story.
2. De verdwenen bruid / The Missing Bride: A dark comedy of errors: a bride loses consciousness on her wedding night; the groom thinks he has killed her, and flees; bride is declared dead by a sloppy coroner, is put in a make-shift coffin; bride regains consciousness, breaks out of the coffin, goes out in search of husband, but is kidnapped by gang. Judge Dee's assistants retrieve and free her. According to van Gulik this actually happened in China around 1880.
3. De verkwistende staatsraad: A hardened criminal murders a very old retired high official, and impersonates him, using his capital to finance the rise of the White Lotus.
* Het spookklooster / The Haunted Monastery (667, Han-yuan)
Judge Dee and family gets stuck in a Taoist monastery due to extremely bad weather; he catches a bad cold, which is miraculously healed. A short tally of the dramatis personae shows that almost 50 % of them are not what they seem; this includes one wall. According to van Gulik the main story happened around 1945 in China. There are three plots:
1. De gebalsemde abt: the eyes of a painted cat prove that the abbot was murdered.
2. De vrome maagd: a respectable widow brings her daughter to the monastery to become a nun, but reality is far more sinister.
3. De sombere monnik: one person in the monastery abuses and murders young women and has found a way to get away with it.
* Halssnoer en Kalebas / Necklace and Calabash (668, Poo-yang)
High adventure, worthy of James Bond, complete with sneaking into a forbidden castle, a princess, and a genuine seductive Bond girl, naked in a stream in the moonlight. It is very important to this story that 84 = 7 x 12, and that the Judge has a very good memory for faces, allowing him to see the relationship between the princess and a Taoist monk.
* Het rode paviljoen / The Red Pavilion (668, Poo-yang)
Due to a local festival the Judge has to take up lodgings in a Red Pavilion, in spite of the recent suicide there; with the suspicious fatal heart attack of a high-level courtesan and two murders, the Judge, and the reader, feels a story full of intrigue coming up. But careful examination shows that all is what it seems: the suicide is a real suicide, the fatal heart attack is a fatal heart attack, and the murders are real murders, but the murderer is dead, so there is no sentence. Except that only three people are dead, and the suicide was not in the Red Pavilion. Ma Yoong spends two gold bars on a girl, and the Judge, with all his wisdom, misjudges the action.
* Klokken van Kaoyang / The Chinese Bell Murders (668, Poo-yang):
Frame: a collector of crime-related objects discovers the original dressing mirror and cap of Judge Dee, puts on the cap, falls into a trance, and wakes up with his head full of Judge Dee adventures.
Story: nasty things are going on in the Buddhist temple in Kaoyang, but Buddhist institutions have recently come under the protection of the Emperor Himself. This severely ties the Judge's hands.
1. Het zedenmisdrijf in de Halvemaanstraat / The Indecent Assault in the Half Moon Street: The sturdy daughter of a butcher is found raped, murdered, and robbed, and her fragile student boy friend is in custody for the crime, because there are many clues pointing his way. The Judge sends out pseudo-buyers for the loot, and catches the real criminal. (Note: Amsterdam has a Halvemaanssteeg, Half Moon Alley.)
2. The geheim van de Boeddhistische tempel / The Secret of the Buddhist Temple: The Judge buys two Eliza Doolittles, and his First Lady plays Prof. Higgins. The young ladies are then used as bait to unmask the foul practices at the Buddhist temple, with very bloody consequences, fortunately not for the ladies.
3. Het geheimzinnige geraamte / The Mysterious Skeleton: A family feud started 50 years ago in Canton results in a dead body under a large bell in Kaoyang. To bring the Lin family down, one of the Lin's impersonates a member of the Liang family; understanding the details of this requires several readings or notes on paper. In the end the head of the Lin family has committed so many crimes that the Law, i.e. the Judge, catches up with him, and he ends up quartered.
As thanks for breaking the grip of the Buddhists on the Emperor, and for bringing a criminal to justice who had been evading the law for 40 years, the Judge receives an Imperial Writ, to be mounted over his Seat.
The comic does not contain the Buddhist Temple story.
* De parel van de keizer / The Emperor's Pearl (669, Poo-yang)
The Emperor's pearl is a pearl of legendary beauty and value, which was presented to the Emperor seven years ago and was then immediately lost. It seems it has turned up in a shady transaction in Poo-yang (Kao-Yang in Dutch), which leaves one of the participants dead, right under the Judge's eyes. And the annual boat races seem to have been rigged, two more murders occur, and somebody pays to have girls abducted for evil purposes; altogether very uncouth. The judge holds a seance with the three main suspects, threatening to invoke a river goddess to elicit a confession, but to his utter surprise a real ghost from the past appears, putting the blame where it belongs.
* Moord op het maanfeest / Poets and Murder (669, Poo-yang)
Judge Dee spends the Autumn Moon Festival at the residence of his friend and colleague Lo. There are four more guests, a de-bon-aire Academician, an elegant Poet Laureate, an uncouth Zen monk, and a courtesan turned poetess. Each has gained great literary merit, but one of this august company has combined a life of prominence and culture with a secret life of abject crimes. A student researches him in the district archives, and is murdered; an entertainment girl recognizes him, and is killed; and the priestess of the Fox Temple who knows him, dies of fox rabies. With all his sources of information gone, the Judge changes tactics, and starts dropping hints, suggesting he knows much more than he does. And indeed one of poets cracks under the pressure, and turns out to be an excellent though somewhat mendacious witness.
* Zes zaken voor Rechter Tie / Judge Dee at Work (663-670)
contains six separate stories:
1. Moord en ambtelijke haarkloverij / The Red Tape Murders: The first page of document M-404 is forged to swindle the Chinese government out of the price of three war ships, and to hide the forgery an innocent soldier is framed for murder.
2. Moord op de lotusvijver / The Murder on the Lotus Pond: A poet contemplating the midnight moon is murdered, but the murderer disturbs the frogs.
3. De twee bedelaars / The Two Beggars: A house teacher, besotted of an expensive courtesan, is murdered, his body dressed up as a beggar and thrown in the gutter; then the ghost of the man comes to Judge Dee to cause him to investigate (but neither Judge Dee nor Van Gulik believe in ghosts...).
4. Het andere zwaard / The Wrong Sword: In Judge Dee's absence his two assistants see a circus act go horribly wrong; they suspect foul play, and identify and research five or six suspects; upon his return Dee uncovers the real culprit.
5. De doodskisten van de keizer / The Coffins of the Emperor: Judge Dee devises a method of determining the weight difference between two sarcophagi, each weighing tens and tens of tonnes, which gives him enough credit with the army camp commandant to save an innocent but stupid man from being beheaded.
6. Moord op oudejaarsavond / Murder on New Year's Eve: In spite of all signs to the contrary, Judge Dee discovers there is no murder.
* Labyrinth van Lan-fang / The Chinese Maze Murders (670, Lan-fang)
Frame: In the Ming Period a retired official is sitting in a restaurant on a Lotus Pond, viewing the passing crowd. A gentleman joins him, saying he is a descendant of Judge Dee, but his voice is so dull the official falls asleep. When he wakes up, nobody seems to have seen the gentleman, but the official is left with a bill for two large meals.
Story: The Judge takes up his post in Lan-Fang, a border town firmly in the hands of a mobster. A previous magistrate was murdered a few years ago, the present one has fled, a retired general of doubtful repute is murdered, a creepy young man tries to pull the wool over the Judge's eyes, the Uigurs are restless, the daughter of the blacksmith is missing, a recently deceased official has built a labyrinth that nobody dares to enter, and his second widow has inherited nothing but a mysterious painting. The subplots:
1. The Murder in the Sealed Room: The general is found dead from a poisoned dagger in his closed study. It turns out there were two attacks on him, one by someone seeking revenge for the general's misdeeds, and one by someone lusting for his fourth wife.
2. The Hidden Testament: No, the testament was not hidden in the painting, yes, it was in the labyrinth, but the Judge has to transgress the rules of the labyrinth to find it.
3. The Beheaded Girl: The sister of the missing daughter goes sleuthing and walks into the same trap as her sister, but the Judge has figured it out, and a very well camouflaged criminal can be brought to justice.
* Het spook in de tempel / The Phantom of the Temple (670, Lan-fang)
One of the most complicated stories of Judge Dee. There is a series of four murders, in which in each murder the murderer of the previous murder is murdered, and the last man standing impersonates his victim for several days. At first none of the murders is noticed, and the Judge gets involved only because the partner of a witness (the actual phantom) of the first murder dresses up a small ebony chest as a blackmail letter, has it delivered to the murderer's house, but the murderer is already dead then, the chest gets sold to an antiques dealer, the Judge happens to buy it, and his assistant discovers the message in it. It does not get any simpler from there.
It is difficult to imagine that the murderer could impersonate his victim for days on end, even to the point of going out into the town in a mock search of his victim = himself. It is also difficult to imagine how the blackmailer could ever have thought his complicated scheme would work.
* Nagels in Ning-tsjo / The Chinese Nail Murders (676, Pei-chow)
Frame: an author working on a history of crime in China is sitting one night in his lotus garden, when his elder brother enters, having traveled from a far-away city. They discuss Judge Dee exploits deep into the night. The next morning a letter arrives, informing him that his elder brother has died four days ago.
Story: On a grey winter day in Ning-tsjo (remarkably called Pei-chow in the English version), the Judge complains about "the dullness of the post". Next he has three (actually four) murders on his hands, one of which almost ends his career. Three subplots:
1. The Case of the Headless Corpse: The headless body of the wife of an antiques dealer is found while the husband is on a business trip. At the same time the daughter of a paper merchant has disappeared. Missing the obvious fact that 1+1=1, the Judge runs in circles until he finds a madman at the center.
2. The Case of the Paper Cat: A famous boxer is found poisoned, leaving Tangram pieces showing a cat as the only trail. The Judge deduces that they identify a Very Mean Lady, but proving her guilt almost becomes the Judge's undoing.
3. The Case of the Murdered Merchant: Only by proving that Very Mean Lady also committed another murder does he save the honor of the Empire and himself. The proof has sad consequences, alas. Then the Empire rewards the Judge with a very big promotion.
* De nacht van de tijger / The Night of the Tiger (676, Pei-chow)
On his way to the capital after his promotion in "The Chinese Nail Murders", the Judge gets stuck in a fortress surrounded by flooded terrain. The fortress is besieged by the Flying Tigers, a band of brigands; a murdered girl turns out to be alive; the Judge enlists his own Flying Dragons; and attempts to arrest the unmurdered girl and her accomplice.
* Het wilgenpatroon / The Willow Pattern (677, Chang-An)
How the three ancient (pre-Emperor) families in the capital perished and Ma Joong got his brides. The Judge is in charge of the capital while the Emperor and his court have fled for the plague. Aside from the plague there is only one trouble: the head of one of the ancient families has died in an accident. Then the head of the second ancient family is found murdered. There are three plots:
1. The Case of the Willow Pattern: the Willow Pattern is a traditional scene on Chinese porcelain, and it strikes the Judge that it matches closely the scenery around the mansion of the head of the third family. And that head of family is guilty as hell, but of what murder?
2. The case of the Steep Stairwell: the wife of the head of family One, the one that fell off the stairs, turns out to have an affair with an other man. The Judge finds the man, and proves that he murdered the head of family. The murdered is executed, thus ending the last of the ancient families.
3. The Case of the Murdered Slave Girl: the head of family Two wants to kill a slave girl the same way he killed her mother seven years earlier, but this time the victim did not come alone. The head of family Two ends up dead and Ma Joong gets victim and avenging angel for wives.
* Moord in Kanton / Murder in Canton (681, Guangzhou)
Last of the Judge Dee (Rechter Tie) adventures; noticing at the end of this book that his methods have become so well-known a criminal might take advantage of them, he gives up sleuthing and dedicates himself completely to politics. There are three plots, very entangled with each other, very difficult to understand and summarize:
1. De Verdwenen Censor: A Censor from the Court is sent to Canton (in the deep South) by Court machinators, who seek to discredit him, and he ends up dead. Leads point to the Court, but the murder turns out to be an accident --more or less--. The pointers are true nevertheless, and the Court needs cleaning up.
2. De Smaragden Danseres: An Arab dancer with an emerald in her belly button wreaks havoc on the lives of several personae in the book, and is murdered the moment she boasts on a murder she thinks was virtuous.
3. De Geheime Geliefden / The Secret Lovers: The wife of the prefect of Canton is murdered because she is taken for a blind cricket sales girl, whom the murderer suspects of having gotten wind of his nefarious plans.
One criminal, thought to have fled back to Arabia, is the cause of a tragic event on the last pages of this last book about Judge Dee.
================================ CARTOONS ================================
* Cartoon album Wolters-Noordhof 1, c1970:
1. Rechter Tie en de 20 goudstukken / Judge Dee and the 20 Gold Pieces - original comic: Gold coins are disappearing from the municipal vault, and a student is found murdered; the facts seem unrelated, but of course they aren't. A bankrupt tea merchant and his attractive servant notice that their house has a wall in common with the vault, in the room rented by a student. She convinces the student to make a hole in the wall, and steal gold coins. When he has stolen twenty of them over the time of a few weeks, they murder him, making it look as if his fellow student and his dancer friend did it. The Judge suspects everybody, and to draw the guilty out, he announces that also a hugely valuable necklace has been stolen from the vault. This sows dissent among the criminals, who, fighting, search the student's room, where the Judge and his assistant apprehends them.
The story is simpler than is usual in the books, but that may be necessary for a comic.
2. Rechter Tie en de dode bruid / Judge Dee and the Dead Bride - original comic: The daughter of an alchemist is poisoned during the wedding reception, and turns out to have ingested snake poison. But snake poison acts only when injected. In the end bad maintenance, of the house and of her teeth, was to blame, and the death was accidental.
* Cartoon album Wolters-Noordhof 2, c1970:
1. Rechter Tie en de antieke dolk / Judge Dee and the Antique Dagger - original comic: A collecting clerk is murdered with an antique dagger, and the wife of a chemist is missing, together with all her jewels. A row of ants tell the judge where to find the body, and who did it.
2. Rechter Tie en het levende lijk / Judge Dee and the Zombie - original comic: All Judge Dee's investigations are obstructed by a kind of monster of Frankenstein. The zombie turns out to be the result of the alchemist's experimenting on his assistant. His wife took control of the zombie and set up a salt smuggling ring. The alchemist's lab catches fire and he, his wife and the zombie perish in the flames.
Note 1: supernatural things happen in this episode without getting a natural explanation in the end, which is highly unusual in van Gulik's work.
Note 2: the three above stories form one unit.
* Cartoon album Wolters-Noordhof 3, c1971:
1. Rechter Tie en het geheim van het landhuis / Judge Dee and the Secret of the Mansion - original comic: Posing as census officials, the Judge and his assistant visit a suspect mansion, which is built at the end of a valley, stuck to the back wall. The suspicion is confirmed when they find the wife and child of one of the brothers missing, and a room with blood smears; and then there is a --failed-- assault on the Judge. Strange sounds, cries, and lights seem to come from behind the valley wall, and the Judge and assistant find a secret passage to dungeons, where they find the missing wife --but not the child--, and to an illegal gold mine. Unfortunately the next assault hits home, and the Judge and assistant end up with their hands tied. By playing two whimpering officials they manage to seduce the criminals to let their guard down; they kill one and render the other unconscious. A dog belonging to the family of the missing woman then manages to find the child in the maze.
Note: The cover announces a 4th volume in this series, titled Rechter Tie en de moord op de lotusvijver / Judge Dee and the Murder on the Lotus Pond, which was never published.
* Cartoon album Loeb 1, c1980:
1. Het geheim van het landhuis / The Secret of the Mansion: see above, Judge Dee and the Secret of the Mansion.
2. Het spook van de tempel / The Phantom of the Temple. Vastly simplified version of "Het spook in de tempel", even to the extent that the ending is completely different, with different culprits.
* Cartoon album Loeb 2, c1981:
1. De moord op de lotusvijver / The Murder on the Lotus Pond: see above, same title.
2. De moord in het fort / The Murder in the Fort: see above, The Red Tape Murders, except that the missing document is now called B-404.
3. Het geheim van de wierookklok / The Secret of the Incense Clock: see above, Five Auspicious Clouds.

[[[[ Het gestolen halssnoer (cartoon) / / Het raadsel van de ring (cartoon) ]]]]


* Cartoon album Loeb 6, c1982:
1. Lijk zonder hoofd / Body without Head: see above, The Case of the Headless Corpse and The Case of the Paper Cat. The latter story is severely watered down.
2. Moord in de vergrendelde kamer / Murder in the Bolted Room: see above, The Murder in the Sealed Room and The Hidden Testament.
* Cartoon album Loeb 7, c1982:
1. Het lijk onder de klok / The Body under the Bell: see above, The Chinese Bell Murders; does not contain the Buddhist Temple story.
2. De gouden munten / The Gold Coins. see above, Judge Dee and the 20 Gold Pieces.
* Cartoon album Loeb 8, c1982:
1. De dode bruid / The Dead Bride: see above, Judge Dee and the Dead Bride.
2. De antieke dolk / The Antique Dagger: see above, Judge Dee and the Antique Dagger.
3. Het levende lijk / The Zombie: see above, Judge Dee and the Zombie.

* Aleister Crowley, "Description of the Cards of the Tarot", reprint of The Equinox, Vol. 1., no. 8, Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Maine, pp. ???. 1912, 1981,

* MAZ (Alfred Mazure), "Dick Bos 1-4", De Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam, 1940-1942, reprint 1971, pp. 220.
Comic (in the American sense: pictures with dialog in balloons) of the jiu jitsu hero Dick Bos, based on the The Hague sports trainer Maurice van Nieuwenhuizen. Four titles: "Het geval Kleyn" (The Case Kleyn); "Li-Hang"; "De Raaf" (The Raven); and "Texas". Thrilling stories, written --unintentionally I think-- in a stiff The Hague 1920s kind of Dutch. With a two-page preface by the author.

* "Des Freiherren von Münchhausen wunderbare Reisen und Abentheuer zu Wasser und zu Lande", Dieterichsche Buchhandlung, Göttingen, 1840, pp. 167.
Index has: "Reißt sich nebst seinem Pferde selbst an seinem Haarzopfe aus einem Moraste -- 42" (Illustration on page 43):
Page 42 has: "Ein anderes Mal wollte ich mich über einen Morast setzen, der mich anfänglich nicht so breit vorkam, als ich ihn fand, da ich mitten im Sprunge war. Schwebend in der Luft wendete ich daher wieder um, wo ich hergekommen war, um einen größeren Anlauf zu nehmen. Gleichwohl sprang ich auch zum zweiten Male noch zu kurz, und fiel nicht weit vom anderen Ufer bis an den Hals in den Morast. Hier hätte ich unfehlbar umkommen müssen, wenn nicht die Stärke meines eigenen Armes mich an meinem eigenen Haarzopfe, sammt dem Pferde, welches ich fest zwischen meine Beine schloß, wieder herausgezogen hätte."