Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

7th Century Tang Dynasty China

©1996-2013
womeninworldhistory.com

Deception

A Novel of Mystery and Murder in Ancient China
by Eleanor Cooney & Daniel Altieri

This story uses what is known about the real 7th century Tang Dynasty magistrate Judge Dee Jen-chieh, who is more popularily known as the Judge Dee created by Robert Van Gulik. Van Gulik’s Dee, however, was eroneaously placed in the much later Ming Dynasty and this is more accurate to the Tang. We include this story because of the key involvement of the Empress Wu Zetian in the plot (see our unit Eyes of the Empress and our biography on Empress Wu). Wu’s particularly nasty side is highlighted in this story, and the good judge labors often in vain against the corruption, betrayal and perversion of Tang Dynasty political life. There is excellent additional information on the Empress in the author’s postscript. A caveat: While the details of the setting and historical events are valuable, this is not a book for younger readers.

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Women in World History Curriculum