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The Honjin Murders de Seishi Yokomizo
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The Honjin Murders (edició 2020)

de Seishi Yokomizo (Autor)

Sèrie: Kosuke Kindaichi (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
3202169,721 (3.55)35
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?… (més)
Membre:ISXVS
Títol:The Honjin Murders
Autors:Seishi Yokomizo (Autor)
Informació:Pushkin Press (2020)
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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The Honjin Murders de Seishi Yokomizo

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Es mostren 1-5 de 21 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I wavered between 3.5 and 4 stars; ultimately, I'm going with 4. This is a really well-written, cleverly plotted ode to the Golden Age of mystery, specifically, the golden age of locked room mysteries (I loved all the name dropping!). Even though it's written much later, everything about it harkens back to those magic days when mystery writing was new and full of unexplored nooks and crannies. The device that the plot turned on was fiendish, but part of me wants to quibble about the mechanics - specifically the speed which everything happened, but that's just pickiness - the buildings could have been further apart, the people slower, or the water faster than I'm imagining them.

None of that matters anyway, it didn't detract a bit from my enjoyment of the book. The only thing that ticked me off is the same thing that's been ticking me off about historic literature since Bronte and Austen: the affectation of using O– instead of just putting the damn village/town/city name in. Just seeing "the –shire" makes me itch in irritation, and the liberal use of it in this book had the same effect. I don't care why they did it, it's irritating.

I borrowed this from the library, and I have to say, I enjoyed it enough that I'll be looking for my own copy to add to my personal collection. I'm sort of curious, too, to read the next one, which my library happens to have as well. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 30, 2022 |
The year is 1937 and during the wedding night of Kenzo and Katsuko, both are brutally murdered within a locked room. Young, sometimes stammering, very smart detective, Kindaichi, is called in to solve the case. I'm not a connoisseur of the mystery, so had no idea that there was a sub-genre of mystery called "locked room" or "locked box." There were many characters in this mystery (too many for me) and the ending was abrupt; however, it was novel so I enjoyed it. I understand there are 76 other books in the series, but I doubt if I will read them. A honjin was an estate of nobility or government officials. However, by the 1870's, they were beginning to decay. ( )
  Tess_W | Aug 21, 2022 |
This strikes me as quite unusual. Set in Japan, it is a locked room mystery that is being narrated by an author of mysteries. It also quite happily references mysteries of the golden age, including other locked room mysteries in explaining how this murder takes place. Like I said, quite unusual.
The head of the household takes a wife, only on his wedding night, he and his bride are killed and they are found locked in the annex in the grounds. There is snow on the ground, a sword stuck in the ground outside and a lot of blood scattered about the place, apparently left by a 3 fingered man. It all get very involved, until the bride's uncle calls upon his protege who is a private investigator, to solve the mystery. There is lots of detail and, had I read it rather than listened to it, I;m sure that the map on page 49 would have been immensely useful. As it was, imagination had to suffice.
The resolution is not what you might expect, being itself based on both Japanese cultural expectations of a rural village in the 30s and western golden age mysteries. The narrator rounds off by pointing out how he'd never actually said some of the things that the reader might a=have assumed at the beginning. At one point I had it fixed on one of the brothers, needless to say I was wrong. Thoroughly entertaining, but you might want to read it and benefit from the map. ( )
  Helenliz | Aug 18, 2022 |

I can see why this is a classic Japanese golden age locked room mystery. It starts with a scream heard in the middle of the night and the discordant sound of a koto being plucked savagely. It ends with the moon shining on a bloody katana stuck into the snow with no footprints around it, outside of a locked room in which two newlyweds have been slaughtered on their wedding night. It features a strange three-fingered man with a scar across his face, a young girl who sleepwalks in search of the ghost of her dead cat, a rich family ridden with intrigue, a son fascinated by Western mystery novels, and an eccentric, untidy, stammering private detective joyfully unravelling it all.

The imagery is stark, beautiful and, to my Anglo eyes, exotic. I kept imagining it as a manga, drawn only in black white and blood-red or like the animation in 'Sin City', dark, violent and accented with sprays of blood.

The storytelling style was a little unexpected. The novel opens like a documentary, narrated in the first person by a writer of detective fiction who is documenting what he has learnt about the murders at a wedding in the house of a wealthy family near the village to which he has recently been evacuated during the war. The murders, he tells us as he looks through the fence at a once-grand but now slightly dilapidated house, took place some years earlier, in 1937. He displays what I felt was a slightly ghoulish fascination with the murders because they are a locked room mystery set in a room where the beams and the woodwork were freshly painted red ochre and with the music of a koto playing at all the key moments. He compares the murders to the mysteries of John Dixon Carr but says the atmosphere is most similar to Gastón Leroux’s ‘The Mystery Of The Yellow Room.' So, despite the documentary style, his taste for fiction colours what he sees, turning a tragedy into a puzzle and lethal violence into an intriguing challenge.

Still in documentary style, the narrator shares the story of the Honjin murders in the form of reports from various eyewitnesses, like an historian share his source material. This style of presentation didn't lend itself to much tension or excitement.

Only when the strange young private detective, Kosuke Kindaichi, arrives do we get a narrative with pace, immediacy and humour. Fortunately, those scenes account for about half of the book.

The plot is ingenious and the solution to the locked room mystery is rather splendid. Sadly, the exposition isn't as fresh and exciting as the idea. The final section of the book dragged a little, having the same appeal as listening to a magician explain at length and in detail the mechanics of his magic trick.

On the whole, I had fun reading this. It was nice to step outside my own time and culture and to be presented with an absorbing mystery.

I liked the young detective, Kosuke Kindaichiso enough that I'm curious to read the other three novels about him that have been translated into English: Death on Gokumon Island, The Village of Eight Graves, and The Inugami Clan (a.k.a The Inugami Curse).
( )
  MikeFinnFiction | May 3, 2022 |
Great detective novel; I read it straight through eight hours last night 6PM t0 2AM.
its a Japanese "locked room" murder mystery. A couple on their wedding night get brutally killed. The bloodied katana is found outside their house sticking out of the snowy ground. No footprints are found.All the doors of the house remain locked from the inside.
A major theme of the novel is murder mysteries themselves. The narrator is an author of fictional versions, who relays the story second hand, and one of the characters is a big aficianado of Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.
Not mentioned in the text, but I suspect another influence is Edgar Allan Poe, in particular his short story "The Black Cat".
Along with the main suspect, a sinister wandering three fingered tramp, the other most interesting character is Suzuko, youngest daughter of the widowed matriarch, "considered a bit slow". Prone to sleepwalking, and troubled by her pet cats death.
Yokomizo uses a similar technique to Poe, of stacking eerie coincidences in the plot, while ostensibly dismissing superstitious nonsense, for example about ghost cats, in the surface narrative.
The murders happen against a back story of an old island feud, sinister strains of a koto playing at night, and the old hangovers of the hierarchies of feudal Japan.
Ending paragraphs are so poignant that the story stays with you after you've finished reading.
A great read. ( )
  George_Stokoe | Jan 28, 2022 |
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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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