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Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels

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Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar returns with a dark fantasy Tor.com Original short story, "Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels." Judge Dee is back to solve a brand-new case involving the mysterious death of the vampire Count Werdenfels. The mystery? Who killed him. The twist? Three different people are proudly proclaiming to have committed the crime. At the Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar returns with a dark fantasy Tor.com Original short story, "Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels." Judge Dee is back to solve a brand-new case involving the mysterious death of the vampire Count Werdenfels. The mystery? Who killed him. The twist? Three different people are proudly proclaiming to have committed the crime. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


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Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar returns with a dark fantasy Tor.com Original short story, "Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels." Judge Dee is back to solve a brand-new case involving the mysterious death of the vampire Count Werdenfels. The mystery? Who killed him. The twist? Three different people are proudly proclaiming to have committed the crime. At the Award-winning author Lavie Tidhar returns with a dark fantasy Tor.com Original short story, "Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels." Judge Dee is back to solve a brand-new case involving the mysterious death of the vampire Count Werdenfels. The mystery? Who killed him. The twist? Three different people are proudly proclaiming to have committed the crime. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

30 review for Judge Dee and the Three Deaths of Count Werdenfels

  1. 4 out of 5

    carol.

    Entertaining. I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't so distracted by the 'Judge Dee' name (he's a famous judge person/character). As such, I kept looking for similarities of style or trying to understand if the author was making a historical connection. I still don't know the answer; there was very little history of Dee in this story, and only an allusion to him plucking Jonathan out of a mess in England. At any rate, this one is about Judge Dee stumbling into a missing vampire and three who Entertaining. I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't so distracted by the 'Judge Dee' name (he's a famous judge person/character). As such, I kept looking for similarities of style or trying to understand if the author was making a historical connection. I still don't know the answer; there was very little history of Dee in this story, and only an allusion to him plucking Jonathan out of a mess in England. At any rate, this one is about Judge Dee stumbling into a missing vampire and three who claim to have killed him. It's a light story, mildly amusing, no great commentary. Something about it just misses for me, perhaps the lack of detail and the contrived dialogue of the characters. I found the first story more entertaining: https://www.tor.com/2020/11/11/judge-... https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-...

  2. 4 out of 5

    karen

    ‘Look,’ Jonathan said. He pointed to dark stains on the floor. ‘Blood.’ ‘Perhaps he was a messy eater,’ the judge said, giving Jonathan a pointed look. i am so thrilled to see a new judge dee story (the vampire judge dee, not that olde timey one), that i don't even care that i liked this one slightly less than the first (Judge Dee and the Limits of the Law ). to be clear, i liked everything about this story except for jonathan—he's comic relief that i don't find funny, and he's more boorish and br ‘Look,’ Jonathan said. He pointed to dark stains on the floor. ‘Blood.’ ‘Perhaps he was a messy eater,’ the judge said, giving Jonathan a pointed look. i am so thrilled to see a new judge dee story (the vampire judge dee, not that olde timey one), that i don't even care that i liked this one slightly less than the first (Judge Dee and the Limits of the Law ). to be clear, i liked everything about this story except for jonathan—he's comic relief that i don't find funny, and he's more boorish and broad here than in the first, where he was the same appetite-on-legs type of guy, but without all this new backsass. i love judge dee, i love the investigative portion of the piece, i love the need for judge dee in this world. i just don't love jonathan in this one. still, i hope there are more more more of these adventures to come because VAMPIRE JUSTICE is apparently a thing i dig. read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-... come to my blog!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elena Linville

    I loved this little gem of a story! We need more stories about Judge Dee and grumpy Johnathan, all bundled up together in to a book. I love these unusual companions and their adventures. And this adventure was rather hilarious. One dead vampire and three people claiming that they killed him, all to inherit his castle. And in the end, it's the least likely person who gets it. I loved this little gem of a story! We need more stories about Judge Dee and grumpy Johnathan, all bundled up together in to a book. I love these unusual companions and their adventures. And this adventure was rather hilarious. One dead vampire and three people claiming that they killed him, all to inherit his castle. And in the end, it's the least likely person who gets it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This second Judge Dee vampire mystery was a fun read, though perhaps a bit less than the first. His relationship with his reluctant, and perpetually hungry human "familiar" Jonathan remains the main source of amusement. "Jonathan traipsed again through the dark forest. This was his lot, he reflected resignedly. Ever since he’d met Judge Dee his life was at the service of dark forces. Yet something within Jonathan still, however foolishly, believed that not all in the judge’s work was evil: that h This second Judge Dee vampire mystery was a fun read, though perhaps a bit less than the first. His relationship with his reluctant, and perpetually hungry human "familiar" Jonathan remains the main source of amusement. "Jonathan traipsed again through the dark forest. This was his lot, he reflected resignedly. Ever since he’d met Judge Dee his life was at the service of dark forces. Yet something within Jonathan still, however foolishly, believed that not all in the judge’s work was evil: that he represented order, a sort of moral compass even for the immoral and immortal beings of vampirekind."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    2.5 stars, rounded up. This was a cute mini-mystery, but never grabbed me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Katz

    I was very excited to see another Judge Dee short story! Again, this is a lovely little mystery that's half Dracula, half Holmes set in the middle ages. This one was still really good (I loved seeing more of Jonathan's decline as he grew up in these conditions more, poor thing) but I felt it wasn't quite as strong as the first -- easier to guess the mystery, and the rhythm of the narration didn't have quite the same flow early on (lots of short, sharp sentences). I was also a little thrown off b I was very excited to see another Judge Dee short story! Again, this is a lovely little mystery that's half Dracula, half Holmes set in the middle ages. This one was still really good (I loved seeing more of Jonathan's decline as he grew up in these conditions more, poor thing) but I felt it wasn't quite as strong as the first -- easier to guess the mystery, and the rhythm of the narration didn't have quite the same flow early on (lots of short, sharp sentences). I was also a little thrown off by the inclusion of Wace and Chretien de Troyes -- they're both well-known and truly historical Arthurian writers of the time period... but I'm not sure why the Arthurian connection was made here since it had nothing to do with the plot, so it threw me out of the story ((view spoiler)[especially since at least Chretien died here so it's not like it's to set up a character who will be of use in an upcoming Arthurian mystery... (hide spoiler)] ). The text didn't call out that connection explicitly but if you recognize the names it becomes a pretty big ??? honestly. I found it very distracting, but ymmv on this (I recently did a whole bunch of Arthurian reading, which didn't help). Still, more fun Vampire mysteries with some great characters and I'm excited to read further Judge Dee stories! I'm hooked now and, like Jonathan, I really am curious why he has Jonathan travel with him.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Jones

    I seem to have read the Judge Dee stories out of order, but no matter, I was not confused! This was completely charming. The truth was that mysteries were bunk: murder was straightforward and everyone did it, from the emperor down. Husbands killed their wives and sometimes wives killed their husbands. Men robbed and murdered every day in every street in every town of the Holy Roman Empire. Knights slaughtered Saracens in the Holy Land and Saracens slaughtered crusaders. The poor killed and the I seem to have read the Judge Dee stories out of order, but no matter, I was not confused! This was completely charming. The truth was that mysteries were bunk: murder was straightforward and everyone did it, from the emperor down. Husbands killed their wives and sometimes wives killed their husbands. Men robbed and murdered every day in every street in every town of the Holy Roman Empire. Knights slaughtered Saracens in the Holy Land and Saracens slaughtered crusaders. The poor killed and the rich killed, and convicts were executed, and it didn’t matter if people used the sword, a kitchen knife, or poison. The end result was always the same. I wouldn't mind seeing Jonathan eaten by a vampire, though. read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kam Yung Soh

    Another story featuring the Vampire Judge Dee and his human companion. In this one, he is summoned to the castle of Count Werdenfels, who has been murdered. Only thing is, three different groups (vampires and vampire hunters) claim to have killed the Count. In Vampire Law, the murderer gets to inherit the former Count's castle, and it is up to Judge Dee to decide who really killed the Count. In the end, after an investigation that requires retracing the Count's last journey and the traps and atta Another story featuring the Vampire Judge Dee and his human companion. In this one, he is summoned to the castle of Count Werdenfels, who has been murdered. Only thing is, three different groups (vampires and vampire hunters) claim to have killed the Count. In Vampire Law, the murderer gets to inherit the former Count's castle, and it is up to Judge Dee to decide who really killed the Count. In the end, after an investigation that requires retracing the Count's last journey and the traps and attacks he encountered, the case is resolved in an unexpected but logical way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Badseedgirl

    I just Love Judge Dee so darn much, but I can't help but wonder why he has not taught Jonathan some table manners. he doesn't seem stupid, just uncouth. I just Love Judge Dee so darn much, but I can't help but wonder why he has not taught Jonathan some table manners. he doesn't seem stupid, just uncouth.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rick Brose

    Like the first Judge Dee short story, there are plenty of things to like within these pages. The relationship between Judge Dee and Jonathan is great, especially the way Judge Dee disapproves of Jonathan's sloppy eating. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. The central mystery is compelling. My biggest problem is that both resolutions have felt over complicated and convoluted, as if designed to keep the reader guessing over feeling like a plausible scenario. Like the first Judge Dee short story, there are plenty of things to like within these pages. The relationship between Judge Dee and Jonathan is great, especially the way Judge Dee disapproves of Jonathan's sloppy eating. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. The central mystery is compelling. My biggest problem is that both resolutions have felt over complicated and convoluted, as if designed to keep the reader guessing over feeling like a plausible scenario.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alba

    {4 stars} This is the second Judge Dee mystery. This ancient, powerful vampiric judge travels Europe with his human servant Jonathan, ensuring that peace is kept within the vampire community. This story focusses on the Count, who has been killed not once, but evidently 3 times by 3 separate killers. Each killer claims the count's "inheritance" (ie his castle, title and lands) for themselves, and the judge and Jonathan must figure out which is the real killer. This story was better than the first, {4 stars} This is the second Judge Dee mystery. This ancient, powerful vampiric judge travels Europe with his human servant Jonathan, ensuring that peace is kept within the vampire community. This story focusses on the Count, who has been killed not once, but evidently 3 times by 3 separate killers. Each killer claims the count's "inheritance" (ie his castle, title and lands) for themselves, and the judge and Jonathan must figure out which is the real killer. This story was better than the first, presenting a more enticing mystery and a little more of the vampire world-building. This story lets off a serious Sherlock & Watson vibe (even calling the mystery "elementary!"), if only Sherlock and Watson investigated vampires.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ty

    A sort of vampiric Sherlock mystery I bought this story thinking it might be about Judge Dee ie Di Renjie when it popped up as a recommendation. Instead it is about a vampiric investigator and his familiar as they travel about investigating. Made me think about a WoD archon or justicar basically as the creatures of the night have a set of rules in this setting. Reminded me a bit of one of Zelazny's stories in feel and style. The story was fine. I suppose if I knew the setting I would probably appr A sort of vampiric Sherlock mystery I bought this story thinking it might be about Judge Dee ie Di Renjie when it popped up as a recommendation. Instead it is about a vampiric investigator and his familiar as they travel about investigating. Made me think about a WoD archon or justicar basically as the creatures of the night have a set of rules in this setting. Reminded me a bit of one of Zelazny's stories in feel and style. The story was fine. I suppose if I knew the setting I would probably appreciate it more. It was a half hour read at most. I am mildly interested in the setting and if it pops up again I will probably buy it but I won't hunt for it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Darcy Roar

    I'm so glad we're getting to see more of Judge Dee's world! I liked this little mystery (maybe slightly less than the previous, it's just a bit more of a standard plot I suppose), but I love the continued world building of this vampire world & all the characters snippets we get to see. For such brief glances (& such a short read) each new character a vivid impression. I'll happily devour any & all stories Tidhar gives us set in this world! Read it online here: https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judg I'm so glad we're getting to see more of Judge Dee's world! I liked this little mystery (maybe slightly less than the previous, it's just a bit more of a standard plot I suppose), but I love the continued world building of this vampire world & all the characters snippets we get to see. For such brief glances (& such a short read) each new character a vivid impression. I'll happily devour any & all stories Tidhar gives us set in this world! Read it online here: https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-... & the first Judge Dee story here: https://www.tor.com/2020/11/11/judge-...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vincent

    I continue to enjoy these tales of the vampiric Judge Dee and his companion Jonathan (henchman? familiar? understudy? not even Jonathan knows why Dee is bringing him along). Much like his inspiration, this Judge Dee travels the country, rendering judgement and dispensing judgement. I like finding out more about the vampire culture and how the mystery unravels. There is a lot happening in a short length; Tidhar makes his words count. If he ever write a full length Dee novel I would probably pre-orde I continue to enjoy these tales of the vampiric Judge Dee and his companion Jonathan (henchman? familiar? understudy? not even Jonathan knows why Dee is bringing him along). Much like his inspiration, this Judge Dee travels the country, rendering judgement and dispensing judgement. I like finding out more about the vampire culture and how the mystery unravels. There is a lot happening in a short length; Tidhar makes his words count. If he ever write a full length Dee novel I would probably pre-order.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    It would be easy to think of Judge Dee as the vampire Sherlock Holmes, and Jonathan as his jam Watson (or really, more of a pork Watson). But the paradoxical crime here, in which there are three contradictory confessions to the murder, feels a little more Father Brown than Holmes. And I still don't get why the vampire-hunters have the names of Arthurian chroniclers, unless it was simply that Tidhar did an Arthurian rework recently and so those names were still in his head. It would be easy to think of Judge Dee as the vampire Sherlock Holmes, and Jonathan as his jam Watson (or really, more of a pork Watson). But the paradoxical crime here, in which there are three contradictory confessions to the murder, feels a little more Father Brown than Holmes. And I still don't get why the vampire-hunters have the names of Arthurian chroniclers, unless it was simply that Tidhar did an Arthurian rework recently and so those names were still in his head.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Available as a Tor.com short story. https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-... This is the 2nd Judge Dee short story to be published, and I eagerly wait for more. This time I was closer in figuring out who killed the vampire Count Werdenfels, but I was still wrong. Available as a Tor.com short story. https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-... This is the 2nd Judge Dee short story to be published, and I eagerly wait for more. This time I was closer in figuring out who killed the vampire Count Werdenfels, but I was still wrong.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mark Redman

    It was good read about Judge Dee and Jonathan again. The story is self contained with some humorous moments. The ending was too abrupt for me. It would be good if we got a longer story in novella format to give the characters time and space to grow and develop. Hopefully we will have another story to follow.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hugo Saravia

    Judge Dee again! Judge Dee is the Sherlock Holmes of the vampire clutch, go Judge Dee go! In this adventure Jonathan was a little more outspoken and the story got more realistic as our Igor, Jonathan, showed the human side of this out of the normal crime solving duo, well, he has to eat, human food that is!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Terry

    A vampire judge and his familiar sass each other while solving a murder mystery. Second in a series, but you don't have to read the first one. Free to read: https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-... A vampire judge and his familiar sass each other while solving a murder mystery. Second in a series, but you don't have to read the first one. Free to read: https://www.tor.com/2021/02/10/judge-...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Roy

    The second of the Judge Dee vampire stories is not as entertaining as the first although still worth reading. I think the author needs to somehow tie in his main character with either the historic Di Ren Jie or the Van Gulik Judge Dee of the novels.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Another interesting story about Judge Dee and Jonathan. I really enjoy these characters and their adventures. I sincerely hope a novel is in the works!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mountainroot

    I have come to love Count Dee and his little adventures... No it's not a great story to be told but i always smile at the end of it so in my book that's a good reading. Small yes but also good. I have come to love Count Dee and his little adventures... No it's not a great story to be told but i always smile at the end of it so in my book that's a good reading. Small yes but also good.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nerine Dorman

    Very clever, highly entertaining.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ao

    this has a bit more humor but i still prefer the first story's case this has a bit more humor but i still prefer the first story's case

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    More Judge Dee stories needed!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I like these Judge Dee stories.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Suffers a touch from sequalitus and is not as sharp as the first in the series. However it is still an excellent novella.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Another excellent Judge Dee story. He is a kind of Vampire Sherlock Holmes with his familiar, Jonathan, a kind of Dr Watson. Great fun. The second of these stories I have read. More please!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    Interesting series, nice twist.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Billy

    Judge Dee's second case (the we are privy to) has even more twists than the last. Excellent read. Judge Dee's second case (the we are privy to) has even more twists than the last. Excellent read.

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