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The Honjin Murders
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
20 posts | 19 read | 29 to read
One of Japan's greatest classic murder mysteries, introducing their best loved detective, translated into English for the first time In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour - it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions around the village. Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi household are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music. Death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. Soon, amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is on the scene to investigate what will become a legendary murder case, but can this scruffy sleuth solve a seemingly impossible crime?
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review
The_Penniless_Author
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

Sort of a meta detective story. The narrator is a writer of detective novels who gets evacuated to a rural village following the Allies' bombing of Japan, which happens to be the site of a "real life" locked-room murder mystery that occurred years earlier. The story is the narrator's attempt at reconstructing what happened based on the recollections and notes of various individuals, some of whom had more direct involvement in the case than others.

The_Penniless_Author There's more than a dash of Agatha Christie here, including the detective, Kosuke Kindaichi, who reminds me of a younger, Japanese Hercule Poirot. Not only is the narrator a detective novelist, but Kindaichi and one of the primary suspects are both huge fans of mystery novels, which helps inform their actions. This is very much a detective novel about detective novels, heavy on plot and light on characterization, but a great puzzle nonetheless. 2w
rwmg wishlisted 2w
RaeLovesToRead This was good, but also kinda silly (in an Agatha Christie / Conan Doyle kinda way) 2w
The_Penniless_Author @RaeLovesToRead Very silly. I give it credit in that the explanation technically fits with everything that came before it, but it's still pretty convoluted. There's no way you're piecing that together through logic and careful reading. 1w
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Smrloomis
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
Mehso-so

Finally finished this. It took me forever because it was a snooze to be honest… It‘s apparently a classic of Japanese murder mysteries but I don‘t plan to keep reading the series 🤷🏻‍♀️

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thegirlwiththelibrarybag
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Why hello there… (just another photo of a book cover taken while working the circulation desk)

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cajunsyd
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Onioons
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Enjoying this short suspense novel. Unusual narrator's voice but engaging all the same...

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RaeLovesToRead
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Aaaaand finally... December's #12booksof2021 pick has got to be The Honjin Murders.

I'm a sucker for a locked room mystery and although this one was as ridiculously convoluted as Dame Agatha Christie's efforts, I really enjoyed it and will be ordering the next one.

Happy New Year, all of you!

Lots of Love 💕💕💕

Ruthiella Happy New Year! 🥳🥂 9mo
RaeLovesToRead @Ruthiella Happy New Year!!! 🎉🎉🎉 9mo
batsy Happy New Year! 9mo
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RaeLovesToRead @batsy 🎉🎉🎉😁 9mo
DaveGreen7777 Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2022, Rae! 😊 9mo
RaeLovesToRead @DaveGreen7777 Same to you, Dave! 🎉 ((Hugs)) 🤗 9mo
Nute Happy New Year, Rae!💜🥳💜 I totally get what you are saying about convoluted plots but the determination to continue on with particular series. One day I will be able to say proudly that I have read all of Agatha Christie‘s books despite some convolution!😂 9mo
RaeLovesToRead @Nute Happy New Year to you too!! 🎉🎉🎉💕 I am also working my way through all the Agatha Christie novels (I'm up to murder in mesopotamia in the Poirot series). Some books are such good fun that I don't mind the convolution! 😅😁 9mo
Nute lol 9mo
42 likes9 comments
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RaeLovesToRead
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

I love this kind of thing. Taking inspiration from the greats, Seishi Yokomizo gives us a compelling and enjoyable locked room mystery.

It gives nothing away to say that the solution is - as always with these golden age dramas - completely batsh*t crazy, but who cares? Highly recommended for fans of Agatha Christie.

#cloakanddaggerchristmas - read a mystery with an amateur sleuth

⭐⭐⭐⭐

vivastory You sold me on it! Will def be reading this one 10mo
RaeLovesToRead @vivastory Hope you enjoy it! 😊 10mo
EvieBee That is a gorgeous edition! 10mo
RaeLovesToRead @EvieBee 🥰🙂 10mo
41 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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RaeLovesToRead
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Love it when a murder mystery has a map so I can pretend to get my amateur sleuthing cap on... 🧐🤔

#cloakanddaggerchristmas

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mhillis
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

Locked room mystery in 1930s rural Japan 🇯🇵 This is a classic mystery novel with a bit of metafiction, translated by Louise Heal Kawai. #Japan

catiewithac I love these Pushkin Vertigo reprints! 2y
charl08 I don't know who designed the covers, but I hope they win a prize. 😍 2y
veritysalter @charl08 It says cover design by Anna Morrison. I think they‘re wonderful too, so simplistic but capture the essence of the story. In this case the bloody Katana in the snow. 2y
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veritysalter
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

Another great read of Japanese crime fiction inspired by Golden Age authors. A bridal couple are found dead in a locked annexe, the family nearby hear their screams, as they rush across the garden to witness the gruesome scene, there are no footprints on the freshly fallen snow, how did the killer get in or out?

ReadingOver50 Looks good. I love Japanese fiction. 2y
vivastory I'd love to see a post of ranking your fave Japanese crime fiction 2y
veritysalter @vivastory I‘ve only read Honjin and Decagon House so far, but I have The Crooked House Murder and I‘ve ordered A Quiet Place and The Inugami Curse. Do you have any other books you‘d recommend? 2y
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BarbaraBB I love Japanese crime too, so I must read both of these! 2y
BarbaraBB If you‘re looking for recommendations you‘ve probably read Higashino‘s books. They are all great. So is 2y
vivastory I second the recommendation of Out. I haven't read any of the Golden Age inspired authors, but have added a few. If you haven't read it I def rec Higashino's Devotion of Suspect X. My fave Japanese crime writer hands down is Kanae Minato. Highly rec. both books that have been translated-Confessions & Penance. (edited) 2y
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tenar
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

An elaborate 1946 puzzle box murder mystery that launched a quirky private investigator & his long-running series. I was enthralled by the intricate crime and its framing - a mystery writer is retelling the events after the fact, referencing classic detective fiction. Cheeky.

But I found the ultimate solution so disturbing it marred my enjoyment. The novel‘s characters being disturbed right along with me was the difference between a pick & a pan!

batsy I definitely want to read this, and your take on the resolution has further piqued my interest! 2y
tenar @batsy I wrote you a few different encouraging replies, but I think all hinted at the contents of the book in some way. So I‘ll just say I‘m excited to hear what you think! 2y
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lovebi
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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(louise heal kawai translation)

thanks for the book ideas, murderer.

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Lindy
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

In the opening chapter, the narrator tells us that the locked room murder mystery is “a genre that any self-respecting detective novelist will attempt at some point.” First published years ago in Japan, this twisty puzzle of a novel has only recently been translated into English by Louise Heal Kawai. Perfect for fans of classic locked room mysteries. #translation

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Lindy
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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“The ground was carpeted in those red spider lilies sometimes known as equinox flowers. I couldn't help thinking that they were soaked in the blood of poor, sweet S---.“

(Photo courtesy of my friend Rika in Yokohama.)

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Lindy
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Unlike other kinds of musical picks or plectrums, the koto pick resembles a false fingernail attached to a ring. If you were wearing koto picks, your fingerprints would be obscured.
(That‘s me in the photo, learning how to play a koto.)

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charl08
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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The collection comprised every book of mystery or detective fiction ever published in Japan....

(I've not heard of any of the Japanese authors.)

TrishB Me neither ☹️ 2y
arubabookwoman I thought I had heard of/read a number of Japanese mysteries, but I hadn‘t heard of any of those either. But since the book was 1st translated into English in 1937, they‘re all probably late 19th early 20th century writers. May be worth looking into? 2y
charl08 @TrishB @arubabookwoman I can't say I've read much Japanese crime. I think the book is only set in the 1930s - the pub info says first pub in Japan in 1973. I am not sure if the names aren't a joke by the author - but I really don't know. 2y
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rabbitprincess
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
Pickpick

I quite liked this book, translated by Louise Heal Kawai. It‘s a bit formal and breaks the fourth wall in a couple of odd ways, but I exclaimed out loud when the solution was revealed, enjoyed the shout-outs to Carr and Leroux, and ended up looking for videos of koto playing so I could hear what it sounded like. So a good read!

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dodgygothbint
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Pickpick

Gosh I've been reading a lot of Golden Age crime novels recently! It's nice to have one from a different cultural background, and this has some fun Japanese quirks, despite its deliberate use of Western crime novel tropes. I loved the detective Kosuke Kindaichi, and the villain, and crime, are suitably chilling. The resolution is ingenuous, and there are nice digs at the injustice of feudal attitudes and traditional class arrogance too ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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shanaqui
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
Mehso-so

It was interesting to read a non-Western mystery story! I always find reading in translation a little stilted, though, and this one is so powerfully inspired by e.g. John Dickson Carr (it's even in the plot). It didn't do wonders for me, I'm afraid.

rabbitprincess My best friend loooooooves John Dickson Carr, so when I heard about this I thought I'd get it for her birthday. Glad to have a review for it! 3y
shanaqui @rabbitprincess I think someone super into locked room mysteries and John Dickson Carr might really like it! Neither are really my thing. 3y
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Tonton
The Honjin Murders | Seishi Yokomizo
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Mehso-so

It‘s a three day holiday weekend thanks to the emperor‘s birthday so I‘m reading away! I‘ll pop out for a walk tomorrow but in the meantime catching up on the TBRs. This book is the first of a long series with the tousle haired Japanese cross between Colombo and Holmes that spawned tv series & movies all with dreaded family secrets and bizarre murders. It‘s classic golden age but I found it stilted and stiff compared to the movies it inspired.