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Follow the Author
Inugami Clan Paperback – 30 June 2007
- Publisher : Stone Bridge Press (30 June 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 308 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1933330317
- ISBN-13 : 978-1933330310
- Dimensions : 13.46 x 2.03 x 19.05 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Famous detective Kosuke Kindaichi is called in by an assistant of the family lawyer. It seems that assistant made a terrible mistake and now realizes that murder will follow unless Kindaichi can prevent it–but the assistant is murdered in Kindaichi’s hotel room before the detective even meets him! This is only a prelude to the terrible things that will happen once the blood-colored will is read….
Kosuke Kindaichi was the most successful series character created by famous Japanese mystery writer Seishi Yokomizo, appearing in over seventy stories. (While the back of book blurb claims The Inugami Clan is the first book in the series, it’s actually at least the fifth. It is, however, the most popular volume and the only one to be translated into English.) He’s a fairly standard quirky detective–dressing in cheap, outdated clothing, stammering at emotional moments, and scratching his scalp furiously while thinking. Apparently, Kindaichi has independent means, as he’s able to lounge around in a hotel room far from his Tokyo home for a couple of months without a paying client.
The case itself is an old-fashioned puzzle box, and it takes several deaths before Kindaichi finally figures it out. All of the Inugami clan are suspicious characters, especially Kiyo, who wears a mask at all times, claiming to have been disfigured in the war. Even the lovely Tamayo, who would in other stories seem to be a innocent target, shows a cold cunning from time to time. But all the characters seem to have alibis for at least one of the murders, and the bizarre pun-based staging makes it probable the same person is behind all the events.
The setting of immediate post-World War Two Japan greatly shapes the story. The will that’s central to setting off the murders would be invalid under American law, and the slowly returning soldiers are an important plot point. (However, no mention at all is made of the American Occupation, or Americans in general.)
There are some gory corpses, an attempted rape, a torture scene told in flashback, and Sahei’s…unusual…sex life is important to several characters’ backstories. This and the older-fashioned writing style makes this book less than suitable to young readers; I would rate it for senior high-school and up.
The translation appears to be out of print in the U.S. Try inter-library loan for a mystery that will go well for fans of Ellery Queen and Agatha Christie-type stories.
Btw, to the reviewer who thought this showed how Japan had changed for the worse thanks to Westernization? I think you'll find that's not the point at all, if you consider the timelines and motivations. Many of the vices that caused the trouble were part of pre-Meiji culture, sadly. But it's not a pro-Western novel, either. Anything this noirish is bound to be full of inconveniently gray areas.