Robert H. Van Gulik was born in Holland in 1910. He was a diplomat, an expert in esoteric Buddhism, and a scholar of Chinese history and culture. He mastered ancient Chinese musical instruments and calligraphy. He translated a number of Chinese texts, including Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An): An Authentic Eighteenth-Century Detective Novel and later used the character in his own stories. He died in 1967.