The Strange Cases of Magistrate Pao: Chinese Tales of Crime and Detection retold by Leon Comber. 1964 first edition.


Translated from the Chinese and retold by Leon Comber. Illustrated by Lo Koon-Chiu. First edition, 1964. Charles E. Tuttle Company. Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan.

Strange Cases of Magistrate Pao

The Case of the Passionate Monk
The Net of Heaven
The Dream of the Goddess of Mercy
The Key
The Temple by the River
The Stolen Slippers

Front Flap

"The six engrossing tales presented in this book introduce the reader to a genre of Chinese detective fiction... At the same time, they transport him to the fascinating world of old China - the world of the clever Magistrate Pao, who is detective, prosecuting attorney, judge, and jury, all in one. ...

"In his lively introduction to the tales that he has translated and retold here, Leon Comber defines their basic pattern: 'The story introduces us straight away into a situation in Sung China, and we are given a vignette of some aspects of the social life and customs of the time. Then, as the story unfolds, a crime of passion is committed. ..."

Leon Comber's (1921 - 2023) career spanned military service, policing, publishing, and academia. Born in London, Comber's early life was marked by the onset of World War II, during which he served as an officer in the Indian Army, participating in operations in Assam and Burma. Post-war, he joined the British Colonial Service in Malaya and was a part of the Special Branch during the Malayan Emergency, a period of conflict involving the Communist Party of Malaya. Comber shifted to publishing, where he made significant contributions, particularly in Southeast Asia, through his work with Heinemann Educational Books and later as the Publisher and Director of Hong Kong University Press. His scholarly work included a focus on Sino-Malay relations, as seen in his book 13 May 1969: A Historical Survey of Sino-Malay Relations, which provides an insightful account of the racial riots in Malaysia.
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Condition: Fine/Very Good. Dust jacket: Price-clipped; light shelf wear; light wear along the upper edges; small closed tear and thin red scuff on the front, lower left; lightly bumped at the corners and head and tail of the spine; light sunning along the spine. Decorative cloth cover boards with black and gilt type. Pages are clean, undamaged, and complete.

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