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View Poll Results: September 2011 Mobile Read Book Club Vote
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 in the Series) by Alexander McCall Smith 5 6.41%
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 7 8.97%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson 12 15.38%
The Chinese Maze Murders by Robert van Gulik (1st Judge Dee mystery by van Gulik) 21 26.92%
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins 6 7.69%
The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer 3 3.85%
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie 7 8.97%
Bruno, Chief of Police: A Novel Of The French Countryside by Martin Walker 3 3.85%
Ghost Story: A Novel of the Dresden Files (The Dresden Files, Book #13) by Jim Butcher 0 0%
Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book #1) by Jim Butcher 14 17.95%
Voters: 78. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-29-2011, 10:48 PM   #181
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Did you read about getting The Chinese Maze Murders for only $5.20 in ePub from Sony? See post #172 in this thread.
Sadly Aussies are not allowed access to the Sony Store, good enough to sell their readers to but not to use their ebook store
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:48 PM   #182
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Sadly Aussies are not allowed access to the Sony Store, good enough to sell their readers to but not to use their ebook store
I expect you are being tongue in cheek and realize that was most likely the publishers decision and not Sony's.

BOb
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:05 AM   #183
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I expect you are being tongue in cheek and realize that was most likely the publishers decision and not Sony's.

BOb
Yes I was I am aware that publishers seem to hold all the cards. However I do not believe Sony even tried our market was too small for them to bother with so they just alinged themselves with Borders and Angus & Robertson it was easier that way for them.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:08 AM   #184
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Woohoo! Just requested an interlibrary loan of The Chinese Maze Murders. Should be arriving shortly. Just enough time to finish up one of the books I'm currently reading.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:44 AM   #185
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Woohoo! Just requested an interlibrary loan of The Chinese Maze Murders. Should be arriving shortly. Just enough time to finish up one of the books I'm currently reading.

Yes I can understand the other reservations expressed by some for The Chinese Maze Murders, but not cost. I prefer ebooks, but will always go with the cheapest and most convenient alternative, especially for a book that is to be a one time read. In this case I just requested the paperback from my library. Convenient and free.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:06 PM   #186
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It's difficult for everyone. I've got myself on a strict book allowance so I evaluate all my purchases a lot. It gets even more difficult when it's a $10 (half my monthly allowance). So I need to do the budget thing. There's usually options for most books from the library, although I've got a couple on my reading list next year that aren't even available at my library or through interlibrary loan. I really like reading on the e-reader so paper library books is third on the list of choices for me. As others have said, sometimes the book club is about getting a few items for the WTR list.

How goes The No. 1?
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:25 PM   #187
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The Chinese Maze Murders is not #1 in the series in either written or chronological order.

Yes, it is the second book written of Judge Dee stories. But as far as chronological order, it's quite far down the list and it does reference at least one other book that's before it in chronological order.

01. The Chinese Gold Murders
02. Five Auspicious Clouds
03. The Red Tape Murder
04. He Came With the Rain
05. The Lacquer Screen
06. The Chinese Lake Murders
07. The Morning of the Monkey
08. The Haunted Monastery
09. The Murder on the Lotus Pond
10. The Chinese Bell Murders
11. Necklace and Calabash
12. The Two Beggars
13. The Wrong Sword
14. The Red Pavilion
15. The Emperors' Pearl
16. Poets and Murder
17. The Chinese Maze Murders
18. The Phantom of the Temple
19. The Coffins of the Emperor
20. Murder on New Year's Eve
21. The Chinese Nail Murders
22. The Night of the Tiger
23. The Willow Pattern
24. Murder in Canton

I'm going to read it. In fact, I started it last night. But, can whoever nominates a book in a series, please take some time and make sure it is either the first book or all the books in front have been read for the book club? It would be better if we didn't skip around in a series.

I know I thirded Ghost Story, but I know it wasn't going to win and I wanted to get to the vote.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:24 AM   #188
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The Chinese Maze Murders is not #1 in the series in either written or chronological order.

Yes, it is the second book written of Judge Dee stories. But as far as chronological order, it's quite far down the list and it does reference at least one other book that's before it in chronological order....
Yes it does: Number 10 on your list, The Chinese Bell Murders. I noticed that as well. (Location 2866, for those of you who are reading it on a Kindle.)
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:42 AM   #189
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Yes it does: Number 10 on your list, The Chinese Bell Murders. I noticed that as well. (Location 2866, for those of you who are reading it on a Kindle.)
To be honest, this book feels like there's a lot of information about characters that may have been given in easier books. I do feel that we are missing things we should have read about. This is why I dislike reading a series out of order. The Chinese Maze Murders feels incomplete. I feel like we are getting snippets of things that we would have complete information had we started from the beginning.

So please everyone don't do this again. Research what you are nominating if it is part of a series. Make sure it's #1 or we've read all that go in front. This series is probably best read in chronological order and that puts this book way too far down the list to start with.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #190
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Interesting: Amazon has The Chinese Gold Murders listed as book #2.

Does anyone know the true order of these books...
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:04 AM   #191
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Interesting: Amazon has The Chinese Gold Murders listed as book #2.

Does anyone know the true order of these books...
http://www.ude.de/gulik/chronology.html

That seems to be the proper order to read these and that makes this one way down the list.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:27 AM   #192
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http://www.ude.de/gulik/chronology.html

That seems to be the proper order to read these and that makes this one way down the list.
Yep. Oh well, maybe those currently reading it can enjoy it as it is, anyway.
I was looking up The Chinese Gold Murders to see if I'd be interested. Unfortunately, it is not currently available as an e-book; at least not on Amazon.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:54 AM   #193
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I found the explanation for the reference to Chinese Bell Murders in the earlier Chinese Maze Murders here.

His first effort in that direction was to translate and publish in 1949 one of the old stories, the Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee or the Dee Goong An.

<snip>

The publication of the Dee Goong An did not have quite the effect van Gulik wished, since it did not inspire a revival of the literature. So, he decided to revive the literature himself, by writing the The Chinese Maze Murders. This was published in Japanese in 1951 and in Chinese in 1953. These books were successful, and van Gulik wrote two more, The Chinese Bell Murders and The Chinese Lake Murders.

<snip>

Van Gulik had actually written his stories first in English, and he soon decided to proceed with their publication in that language also. The English preface of The Chinese Maze Murders is dated 1956 -- after the 1951 Japanese and the 1953 Chinese editions. Van Gulik evidently rewrote the three books slightly for the editions in English, since there is a reference in the Maze Murders to the Bell Murders and a reference in the Bell Murders to the Lake Murders, even though the latter books were written subsequent, not prior, to the former ones. In the chronology of Judge Dee's life, van Gulik at first wrote books from his later life and then moved forward.


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That seems to be the proper order to read these and that makes this one way down the list.
Proper? Oy. Written chronology or character chronology? That seems an everyone for herself/himself kind of decision. Me, I wouldn't think of reading The Magician's Nephew before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And if you opt for written order, everyone (but one) agrees that Chinese Maze Murders was, as the University of Chicago Press puts it, "Robert van Gulik’s first venture into writing suspense novels." Or as the quote from Wikipedia cited above by Tom has it, "Van Gulik's novels and stories made no direct reference to the original Chinese work and so Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee is not considered to be part of the Judge Dee series. "
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:09 AM   #194
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Published order (or written order, in the event those two conflict, as in this case) is always the way to read a series (IMO) unless the author(s) expressly indicates otherwise. Internal series chronology is of relatively little importance. Otherwise, the term prequel would have no meaning.

Think about what order someone would have read them in had they started reading them before they were all published.

So, since this is the 2nd book written in the series, there's a valid concern that some important background may be missing from the first written book (I just happen to think it's a very small concern since it was van Gulik's first). But I think it would be silly to expect someone to verify that a book is the very first according to the series' own internal chronology before nominating it for the book club.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:27 AM   #195
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To be honest, this book feels like there's a lot of information about characters that may have been given in easier books. I do feel that we are missing things we should have read about. This is why I dislike reading a series out of order. The Chinese Maze Murders feels incomplete. I feel like we are getting snippets of things that we would have complete information had we started from the beginning....
I didn't feel that way, and had no problem following the story.

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I found the explanation for the reference to Chinese Bell Murders in the earlier Chinese Maze Murders here.

...Van Gulik had actually written his stories first in English, and he soon decided to proceed with their publication in that language also. The English preface of The Chinese Maze Murders is dated 1956 -- after the 1951 Japanese and the 1953 Chinese editions. Van Gulik evidently rewrote the three books slightly for the editions in English, since there is a reference in the Maze Murders to the Bell Murders and a reference in the Bell Murders to the Lake Murders, even though the latter books were written subsequent, not prior, to the former ones. In the chronology of Judge Dee's life, van Gulik at first wrote books from his later life and then moved forward.[/I]
That appears to be a very satisfactory explanation as to why a reference to a later work appears in an earlier publication.
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