In the fourth installment of Robert Van Gulik´s ancient Chinese mystery series based on historical court records, detective Judge Dee is appointed to the magistrate of Pei-chow -- a distant frontier district in the barren north of the ancient Chinese Empire. It is here that he is faced with three strange and disturbing crimes: the theft of precious jewels, the disappearance of a girl in love, and the fiendish murder involving the nude, headless body of a woman. And even more curious, the crimes seem to be linked together by clues from a popular game of the period, the Seven Board.
"A delight to the connoisseur" (San Francisco Chronicle), The Chinese Nail Murders was first published in the 1950s. Timeless and exotic, it is now reissued by Perennial and includes charming illustrations and an epilogue that details the origins of each case and how the author discovered them.
Robert Van Gulik was born in the Netherlands in 1910. He was educated at the Universities of Leyden and Utrecht, and served in the Dutch diplomatic service in China and Japan for many years. His interest in Asian languages and art led him to the discovery of Chinese detective novels and to the historical character of Judge Dee, famous in ancient Chinese annals as a scholar-magistrate. Van Gulik subsequently began writing the Judge Dee series of novels that have so captivated mystery readers ever since. He died of cancer in 1967.