Monday, June 7, 2021

Judge Dee and the Limits of the Law: A Original (Judge Dee), by Lavie Tidhar

Tor Books, November 2020

This is a fun little short story about a very old vampire who is, essentially, a circuit judge for vampires, enforcing the only law that really matters to vampires: don't endanger us all by behaving so outrageously that you get us discovered by the humans we prey on.

Judge Dee is accompanied in his travels by a boy named Jonathan, whom he rescued from a local disaster in England. Because vampires don't really eat, and really don't eat what humans eat, Jonathan devours ferociously whatever human-edible food comes his way. Other than that, he just tries to be observant, learn what Judge Dee has to teach him, and be useful.

Jonathan is enjoying one of those meals when Judge Dee is called Castello d'oro, or perhaps Castello dell'orrore. Castle of Gold, or Castle of Horrors. When they arrive, they find the Baron Guido, and his surprisingly large vampire family--the large number of former humans he has transformed into vampires. Together with the large number of prey humans they have confined, one can easily see some likely violations of the one law vampires care about.

But Baron Guido sent for a vampire judge, and claims that his neighbor, Lady Isabelle of the Shroud, another vampire, has murdered his brother, Enzo. Judge Dee and Jonathan set off to visit Lady Isabelle. What the Judge finds there is very odd, and there are odd things about Guido's story, too, 

There are also some unusual defensive features in Lady Isabelle's castle.

It's an interesting, entertaining tale with a twist at the end that adds to the fun.'


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