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The Honjin Murders (Pushkin Vertigo) av…
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The Honjin Murders (Pushkin Vertigo) (urspr publ 1973; utgåvan 2020)

av Seishi Yokomizo (Författare)

Serier: Kosuke Kindaichi (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
14811139,864 (3.46)17
Medlem:sdmf4bls
Titel:The Honjin Murders (Pushkin Vertigo)
Författare:Seishi Yokomizo (Författare)
Info:Pushkin Vertigo (2020), 192 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Honjin Murders av Seishi Yokomizo (1973)

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Thank you Edelweiss for the ARC!

The chilling twist ending had me going, "Wait, what?!" and funny enough it was the narrator himself who at the end apologizes for not being entirely forthcoming. Even then, I don't think I would have realized.
It was fascinating to read and also intriguing that Detective Kosuke Kindaichi shows up about 40% into the book.

I'm glad this has been translated so that it can have a wider audience and I'm eager to read the next one! ( )
  RachellErnst | Jan 5, 2021 |
i haven't read many locked room mysteries, but reading this definitely makes me curious to read more, even though he tells us in here that so many of them use weird mechanical devices to make it work. (that feels/sounds almost like cheating, but really i think to have a locked room mystery work, there almost has to be an almost cheat. there's just no other way to do it, so you have to go in knowing you'll be tricked.)

this was a quick and good read for me, even though it's written in a way that i wouldn't have thought i'd like. it's very clinical and cold, there is no character development at all, there is the framing where the narrator is telling us that he's telling us a story, there's no plot progression. it's really just a succession of facts and description of the solving of the crime. i suspect it will be unappealing to many people because of that.

for myself, having read so few books like this, i really didn't mind, as i was really curious how the murder could have happened. the writing and the characters and the rest aren't something i would normally like - i really want more character depth and would love to know how kenzo felt without kosuke telling us; it should be in the story for us to learn it - but i was taken enough with the how on earth could this happen that i forgave. i wouldn't want to read a bunch of books like this, just kind of information dumps with no real care for the characters or location (which all sounded like they could have been really interesting). ...that's not quite right - we do learn about the characters, but i'd like to know even more, and i'd like to learn about them differently. we are mostly just told, after the fact, what people are like or how they think. my preference is for that to unfold in the story.

the solution is really, really clever and maybe a bit far fetched? and for what this is, it was fun. it would have been even better to me, i think, had it been presented differently. but maybe that's my western eye looking at a more easternly written book. and maybe it really doesn't matter, because the entire point of a locked room mystery is the solution. and it was particularly fun to have all the references to other classic mysteries, and especially the authors of locked room mysteries. the author and the characters were very much appreciative of those books, and that's a fun thing to include. so even though it wasn't written the way i normally prefer, it was good, with a really amazing solution. i wouldn't read more by him, though, unless i thought they'd be done quite differently. i much prefer a real story with plot and character exploration, but am willing to give a pass this time. ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Dec 11, 2020 |
This classic Japanese mystery is interesting, but is very much of its time. It was written in 1946 and set in the late 1930's, brings to mind Ellery Queen, John Dickson Carr and other "puzzle" mystery writers of the period. The Japanese setting was of course very different from the venues of Western writers, though it does take place in a large and prestigious country house. And the detective who solves the crime, Kosuke Kindaichi, is an engaging character. Overall, however, the book shares the characteristics of Western "puzzles" of the period: a focus on how the crime was done, rather than on who did it, or why. ( )
  annbury | Nov 4, 2020 |
The Ichiyanagi family is considered to be of notable lineage because it can claim descent from the owners of a honjin, or an inn for government officials. Kenzo, the heir to the head branch of the family, is getting married at the ripe old age of 40, and the festivities are lavish. But on the wedding night, murder strikes. The crime seems impossible: a locked room, a house surrounded by snow and betraying no footprints, and mysterious strangers who seem to have vanished. How was the crime perpetrated? Enter Kasuko Kindaichi, an eccentric amateur detective whose unalloyed enthusiasm for crime novels lulls his suspects into a false sense of security.

This is considered to be a classic among the Japanese locked-room mystery canon; it name-checks and draws upon many locked-room mystery practitioners from the English-speaking world, most notably John Dickson Carr. In a way the characters discoursing on locked-room mysteries reminded me of Carr’s The Hollow Man, which contains Dr. Fell’s famous lecture on the subject. The style comes across as rather formal, and the nameless narrator breaks the fourth wall occasionally, referring directly to the readers as “ladies and gentlemen”. An element I particularly liked about this book was how it would introduce Japanese words by italicizing on first use, then dropping the italics on subsequent uses to make them part of the story, instead of “othering” the words by keeping them italicized all the time. There were a couple of challenges associated with translating dialogue about a letter written in Japanese, but overall I think the translator did a good job.

This was one of those books where I exclaimed out loud when the solution was revealed, so if you are similarly susceptible to surprises, you might like this book. I’d recommend this more if you’re already familiar with the locked-room genre, and particularly if you’ve read The Plague Court Murders, by John Dickson Carr, or The Mystery of the Yellow Room, by Gaston Leroux, because those are name-checked in ways that might be slight spoilers. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 22, 2020 |
The Honjin Murders is set in Japan in 1937, and was first published in 1946. It is a classic locked room murder with a Japanese twist, and concerns itself as much with the history and mechanics of locked room mysteries as it does with its own plot. The detective even stops mid-investigation to give a review of locked room mysteries. His own preference is for those that forego the use of mechanical contrivances, and his favourite of these is The Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.

Back to the plot. Honjin families belong to the upper-crust and take pride in their lineage and traditions. The marriage of the oldest son of a Honjin family gives rise to the deaths in a locked annexe. He has insisted on marrying a young woman who, while capable and well-educated, comes from a family of a much lower class. His mother and brothers are unhappy, but he is the head of the family and cannot be swayed.

I liked this mystery for its glimpse into prewar Japanese society: the clothes; the buildings; the traditions; the customs; the music. I was also entertained by the writer's affection for locked room mysteries. It didn't help the plot in any way, but the oddness was appealing.

I enjoyed The Honjin Murders not for being a well-plotted mystery with believable characters, because it's not, but for its strangeness. ( )
1 rösta pamelad | Aug 5, 2020 |
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