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Ride a Pale Horse
Helen MacInnes
The Samurai's Wife
Laura Joh Rowland
The Phantom of the Temple - Robert van Gulik 2.5 stars. Normally I love a good Judge Dee story, but I didn't think this was one of the more interesting ones. There were too many shady characters, and it seemed like each of them was somehow tied up with each other. I think this should have worked to make the mysteries in this book more intriguing, but it just made it hard for me to keep track of everyone, which made it hard to form my pet theories, which made it hard to find this story very engaging.

Ma Joong (and Chiao Tai) are my two favorite Judge Dee characters, and in this book Ma Joong figured prominently, so I liked that. Unfortunately, Chiao Tai was out of town in this book, so Ma Joong was a little less interesting without his brother in arms. It is the exchanges between these two men that gives each of their characters that extra zing.

I also enjoyed the glimpses into the lives of Judge Dee's wives; in this book his Third Lady even got to lend a hand in his investigation! [a:Robert van Gulik|243991|Robert van Gulik|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1234309210p2/243991.jpg] always does a nice job of capturing the domesticity and tranquility of Judge Dee's home life, but I really thought he did a superb job of that in this book.

In the end I'd say this was an adequate Judge Dee book. Some things were quite well done, but ultimately, I am probably not too likely to remember this one.