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Tokyo Zodiac Murders: Detective Mitarai's…

Tokyo Zodiac Murders: Detective Mitarai's Casebook (vuoden 2005 painos)

– tekijä: Soji Shimada (Tekijä), Ross and Shika MacKenzie (Kääntäjä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
2401087,411 (3.64)12
A bestselling and internationally-acclaimed masterpiece of the locked-room mystery genre
Teoksen nimi:Tokyo Zodiac Murders: Detective Mitarai's Casebook
Kirjailijat:Soji Shimada (Tekijä)
Muut tekijät:Ross and Shika MacKenzie (Kääntäjä)
Info:IBC Books (2005), 252 pages
Kokoelmat:Aion lukea
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:to-read, crime-fiction, not-at-vpl

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (tekijä: Soji Shimada)


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» Katso myös 12 mainintaa

Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is in the old style of japanese crime fiction which is based more on the deduction puzzle solving aspects rather than the social aspects , which is the style I prefer of the two. ( )
  ethanw | Jan 14, 2021 |
I am reading this for "Locked Room Mystery": The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada. This apparently is a locked room mystery novel that has been getting rave reviews.

Wow all I have to say is that this book was great. More than anything I love clever books like this, and this was definitely very clever. I honestly was a bit worried for a couple of minutes that maybe I wouldn't be able to get the book since the setting is in Japan. But wow the author Soji Shimada is able to pretty much show you that murder is murder no matter where it takes place.

This book is broken into two time periods. The first is Japan in 1936 and the second time period is Japan in 1979.

In 1936, we are treated to a letter that is left by an artist named Heikichi Umezawa. Umezawa wants to "build" the perfect woman. We read of his obsession with women and their bodies as well as his comments on astrology. We realize that he plans on doing away with his children, stepchildren, and nieces (all female) and using parts of them to build his perfect woman and bring Japan back into a state of harmony.

Oh here's the problem, Heikichi Umezawa is found murdered in a locked room. Yet the murders still take place. Who could have decided to follow Umezawa's plan?

When we are back in1979 we follow two amateur detectives (Kiyoshi Mitari and Kazumi Ishioka) our Sherlock and Dr. Watson if you will. FYI that would tick Mitari off since he had some hilarious bad opinions about Sherlock. We find out that the murders are famous in Japan and many people have tried to figure out who killed the women after Umezawa was dead where the perfect woman was left. Just like Sherlock, Mitari is subject to depression, and Kazumi is hoping that the puzzle of the Tokyo Zodiac Murders will drag him out of his depression.

I was fascinated with Mitari since he is a respected astrologer and fortune teller. It seems an odd hobby for our amateur detective, but it makes sense when you get into the astrology aspect of this book.

There are a lot of characters in this one, but I was able to keep them straight. The author provides you the names of everyone up front and throughout the book. We really only get Kazumi's deductions and point of view since he is telling us the story. We do get glimpses of what drives Mitari though.

I loved the writing. Reading about headless corpses that were dismembered repeatedly may not be your thing, so be forewarned. The flow was great too. I also applauded the author for including illustrations of the locked room, and diagrams of other rooms, as well as the corpses being dismembered, and also people's names to family trees, etc. There are a lot of really good illustrations in this book and it made it for me, into a five-star read.

I will say that aspects of this story just thrilled me from beginning to end. Trying to work out how Umezawa was murdered and how an unexpected snowfall came into play was great.

I also loved thinking of Kyoto and cherry blossoms.

The reveal of who the murder was and how they carried it off was brilliant. I would imagine that Dame Agatha would have given this author kudos. Because once this was revealed I had to go back and re-read the clues that were spread throughout the book. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I loved how it was written based on a prior murder. The characters were interesting. The book moves at a fast pace. ( )
  caanderson | May 20, 2018 |
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders starts off with a “last will and testament” written by Heikichi Umezawa in 1936. In this document, he detailed his belief that he is possessed and how he came to the realization that killing six of his daughters and nieces would solve his problems. Using their zodiac signs as a guide, he’d take one body part from each young woman and construct Azoth, the perfect woman.

The story then fast forwards to about 40 years later. Kazumi, a mystery fan, is describing the facts of the Tokyo Zodiac Murders to his friend Kiyoshi, an astrologer and occasional detective. The six young women were, in fact, killed and mutilated in the manner described in Heikichi’s will, but Heikichi couldn’t possibly have done it: he’d been dead for several days prior to the murders. In addition to Heikichi’s murder and the Azoth murders, one of Heikichi’s other stepdaughters was also killed. No one is sure whether that murder was related to the others or not.

After Kiyoshi takes on a client with a distant but potentially embarrassing connection to the case, Kiyoshi and Kazumi end up with a one-week deadline to solve a mystery that no one else has managed to solve in 40 years. Diagrams included throughout the text invite readers to solve the mystery along with them.

If you like trying to solve mysteries before a book’s fictional detective does, you really need to give this a try. It’s an excellent puzzle, and the author even interjects a couple times in order to let readers know when enough information has been included to allow them to solve the mystery. Of course, he interjects late enough that readers have more information than they need, muddying the water a bit, but that’s part of the fun.

The first part, with Heikichi’s will, was particularly strong. Heikichi casually describing why he needed to kill his daughters and nieces was incredibly creepy. I promise, though, that that’s as creepy as the book gets. Although the description of how the murders were actually accomplished was horrifying, the book’s overall tone didn’t have much of a feeling of creepiness, horror, or even urgency to it. Yes, Kiyoshi only had a week to solve the mystery, but the only things at stake, really, were his ego and reputation. Most of the people directly affected by the Tokyo Zodiac Murders were long dead.

There were a few times when I started to lose interest as the book became a little too “two guys talking about the facts of the case,” but for the most part those facts were really interesting. I had all kinds of theories about who might have killed Heikichi and how Kazue, Heikichi’s eldest stepdaughter, was involved, and who had killed the other women. None of my theories fit all of the facts of the case, and all my theories were torpedoed after Shimada included one particular document.

Kazumi, who was basically Kiyoshi’s Watson, had some ideas of his own that sounded promising, but I was fairly certain that he’d miss the key detail that would bring everything together. By the time Kiyoshi finally announced that he’d solved the murders, both Kazumi and I were thoroughly lost. It got to the point where I felt like Shimada was practically shoving the finished puzzle under my nose and I still couldn’t solve it. It was frustrating and fun at the same time. If it hadn’t been for work and sleep, I’d probably have read the last part of the book, where everything was finally revealed, all in one go. I can confidently say that I’d never have figured everything out on my own. There were aspects that stretched my suspension of disbelief, but, even so, the solution was really good.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable mystery that kept me guessing until the final revelation. It was very deliberately structured like a puzzle that readers were invited to solve along with Kiyoshi and Kazumi, but, despite the author’s two interjections, it still didn’t feel quite as detached as a couple similar mysteries I can think of. Kiyoshi and Kazumi had some life to them and didn’t just feel like pieces on the author’s gameboard. I particularly enjoyed their conversation about Sherlock Holmes and well-known mystery authors, and Kazumi's enjoyment of various locations in Japan made me wish I could visit them myself.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Oct 21, 2017 |
I absolutely loved the solution to this one, though the whole "locked room" explanation was a little flat. Bits of the story get drawn out and I can't tell if that's due to me being ignorant of Japanese fiction or just how this one translates. This one is worth reading if you consider yourself a hardcore mystery reader. I'm thankful that Pushkin Vertigo brought this one back. ( )
  trav | Jan 23, 2016 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (1 mahdollinen)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Shimada, Sojiensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
MacKenzie, RossKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
MacKenzie, ShikaKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Pugmire, JohnKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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A bestselling and internationally-acclaimed masterpiece of the locked-room mystery genre

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Keskiarvo: (3.64)
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