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Re: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders

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  • MG4273@aol.com
    A dissenting view. This is mainly a detective story abouit a serial killer. Embedded within it is a good impossible crime short story, which is only mildly
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 1, 2006
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      A dissenting view.
      This is mainly a detective story abouit a serial killer.
      Embedded within it is a good impossible crime short story, which is only
      mildly connected with the rest of the novel. The book chapters are titled as Acts
      and Scenes of a play. Early on, Act One, Scenes 1 and 2 form an locked room
      murder mystery, complete with solution (pp 34-54). These two chapters, around 20
      pages long in total, form a decent locked room murder mystery, with an
      original solution (at least, I've never seen it elsewhere). If these chapters were
      published as a short story, it would make a good anthology standard in
      collections of locked room mysteries.
      The rest of this book is an excedingly gruesome serial killer mystery, loaded
      with "sick" material. It is a fair play detective story, with a hidden
      killer. This killer story is not an impossible crime. And it is not ideal reading,
      for people like me who are not fond of horror material (there are exactly 2 of
      us left in the world - everyone else seems to want as much horror as
      possible!). It is unclear that the book as a whole is really outstanding as a puzzle
      plot mystery, either.

      Mike Grost
    • pugmire1
      I guess if you can t stomach Grand Guignol, this book is not going to be your cup of tea. However, the cover synopsis makes it crystal clear what s in store,
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 1, 2006
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        I guess if you can't stomach Grand Guignol, this book is not going to
        be your cup of tea. However, the cover synopsis makes it crystal
        clear what's in store, so if you don't like that sort of thing, you
        have been warned.

        Without giving too much away, I have to say that the impossible crime
        subplot is adequate but no more. The real ingenuity lies in the rest
        of the story. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion, but I stand by
        my assessment that this is a truly original and diabolically
        ingenious plot.

        John P.

        --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@... wrote:
        >
        > A dissenting view.
        > This is mainly a detective story abouit a serial killer.
        > Embedded within it is a good impossible crime short story, which is
        only
        > mildly connected with the rest of the novel. The book chapters are
        titled as Acts
        > and Scenes of a play. Early on, Act One, Scenes 1 and 2 form an
        locked room
        > murder mystery, complete with solution (pp 34-54). These two
        chapters, around 20
        > pages long in total, form a decent locked room murder mystery, with
        an
        > original solution (at least, I've never seen it elsewhere). If
        these chapters were
        > published as a short story, it would make a good anthology standard
        in
        > collections of locked room mysteries.
        > The rest of this book is an excedingly gruesome serial killer
        mystery, loaded
        > with "sick" material. It is a fair play detective story, with a
        hidden
        > killer. This killer story is not an impossible crime. And it is not
        ideal reading,
        > for people like me who are not fond of horror material (there are
        exactly 2 of
        > us left in the world - everyone else seems to want as much horror
        as
        > possible!). It is unclear that the book as a whole is really
        outstanding as a puzzle
        > plot mystery, either.
        >
        > Mike Grost
        >
      • Anita Hoffman
        Last year there was a lot of discussion about a wonderful Japanese mystery writer who had his first book translated into English... The Tokyo Zodiac Murders
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 16, 2007
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          Last year there was a lot of discussion about a wonderful Japanese
          mystery writer who had his first book translated into English... "The
          Tokyo Zodiac Murders" by Soji Shimada. I tracked down the book and
          bought it, but between moving into the rental house while we are
          building, it got lost in a box of books which was just opened last week.

          I started reading it and could not put it down. It is a fascinating
          story that contains a locked room murder, a somewhat "routine" murder
          and rape, and the subsequent
          murders and mutilation of six daughters of the first victim. Whew....
          are you confused yet?

          The story, an elaborate whodunit, features private detective and
          astrologer Kiyoshi Mitarai and his own version of Dr. Watson,
          illustrator and detective story aficionado Kazumi Ishioka. Together
          they track down the perpetrator of the Tokyo Zodiac Murders and the
          creator of Azoth.

          It is a fascinating tale of magic and illusion, and I highly
          recommend it to any GADer who wants to branch out and find a new author.

          The only difficulty I had, and it was me and not the book, was
          keeping track of the characters.... there were no less than 21 who
          were introduced in the 1936 segment of the book, which lays the
          groundwork for the murders, and only a mere nine in the 1979 current
          day segment... plus a host of other minor characters who are only
          nominally mentioned. Obviously the names are Japanese, which do not
          feature in anyway shape or form in my vocabulary, so I found myself
          referring with great frequency to the cast of characters in the front
          of the book. Other than that, it's a definite read for our list
          members who want to branch out.


          Anita
        • stoke_moran
          Agreed, Mike. I read this one yesterday, and couldn t really see what all the fuss was about. The murderer s identity was surprising, but I found the book as
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 2, 2009
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            Agreed, Mike. I read this one yesterday, and couldn't really see what all the fuss was about. The murderer's identity was surprising, but I found the book as a whole off-putting - certainly not one I want to read again. I didn't like the details about rape, semen, and severed and dismembered body parts (Gladys Mitchell does this sort of thing with black humour); and I thought the credence paid to astrology was silly. Also, as an ignorant gaijin (although my mother speaks fluent Japanese), I found it quite difficult keeping track of who was who, as the names sounded very similar (e.g. Tomoko, Akiko, Yukiko).

            --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@... wrote:
            >
            > A dissenting view.
            > This is mainly a detective story abouit a serial killer.
            > Embedded within it is a good impossible crime short story, which is only
            > mildly connected with the rest of the novel. The book chapters are titled as Acts
            > and Scenes of a play. Early on, Act One, Scenes 1 and 2 form an locked room
            > murder mystery, complete with solution (pp 34-54). These two chapters, around 20
            > pages long in total, form a decent locked room murder mystery, with an
            > original solution (at least, I've never seen it elsewhere). If these chapters were
            > published as a short story, it would make a good anthology standard in
            > collections of locked room mysteries.
            > The rest of this book is an excedingly gruesome serial killer mystery, loaded
            > with "sick" material. It is a fair play detective story, with a hidden
            > killer. This killer story is not an impossible crime. And it is not ideal reading,
            > for people like me who are not fond of horror material (there are exactly 2 of
            > us left in the world - everyone else seems to want as much horror as
            > possible!). It is unclear that the book as a whole is really outstanding as a puzzle
            > plot mystery, either.
            >
            > Mike Grost
            >
          • Patrick O
            After joining this group, I looked through old messages and found a few posts that spoke highly of The Tokyo Zodiac Murders . This looked interesting, and I
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 31, 2011
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              After joining this group, I looked through old messages and found a few posts that spoke highly of "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders". This looked interesting, and I am the same person who ate through 37 volumes of "Case Closed" in a month (yes, that was me), so my limited experience with Japanese mysteries (albeit it was in manga form) were good. I decided to give this a shot.

              Luckily, my university (Waterloo) has agreements with two other local universities, Laurier and Guelph, that allow students from one to access the collections of all three, so I found this book in the University of Guelph. It arrived for me yesterday and I got started. (Poor Jacques Futrelle. This is the second time I've delayed finishing the collection of his stories.) I must say, I am really loving this book. Shimada has instilled in me the feeling of being completely lost in the puzzle, seeming to fail no matter what angle you look at the thing- the same feeling I got when I read the best of Carr for the first time, like "He Who Whispers".

              I'm not Japanese, but going by the limits a translation has to offer, Soji Shimada has got some excellent skill- and if he keeps good his promise from the first page to play fair with the clues, I have the feeling this could become one of my new favourites. Despite the gruesome nature of the killings and so on, this feels a lot like a work from the Golden Age- and having the characters trying to solve a series of deaths from the 30s only deepens that feeling.

              I've been posting my thoughts on the JDCarr forum, and in my last post (it was nearly eaten by the Internet), I went off and rambled on about my various theories which don't seem to work (placing them in the convenient spoiler tags the forum offers). Feel free to read along:

              http://www.jdcarr.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6933

              Patrick
            • John
              It contains one of the greatest red herrings in the history of the genre. I don t think you ll be disappointed. If all goes well,EQMM will publish one of
              Message 6 of 11 , Apr 1, 2011
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                It contains one of the greatest red herrings in the history of the genre. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

                If all goes well,EQMM will publish one of Shimada's short stories later this year. I'll keep GADers posted.

                John

                --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick O" <go_leafs_nation@...> wrote:
                >
                > After joining this group, I looked through old messages and found a few posts that spoke highly of "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders". This looked interesting, and I am the same person who ate through 37 volumes of "Case Closed" in a month (yes, that was me), so my limited experience with Japanese mysteries (albeit it was in manga form) were good. I decided to give this a shot.
                >
                > Luckily, my university (Waterloo) has agreements with two other local universities, Laurier and Guelph, that allow students from one to access the collections of all three, so I found this book in the University of Guelph. It arrived for me yesterday and I got started. (Poor Jacques Futrelle. This is the second time I've delayed finishing the collection of his stories.) I must say, I am really loving this book. Shimada has instilled in me the feeling of being completely lost in the puzzle, seeming to fail no matter what angle you look at the thing- the same feeling I got when I read the best of Carr for the first time, like "He Who Whispers".
                >
                > I'm not Japanese, but going by the limits a translation has to offer, Soji Shimada has got some excellent skill- and if he keeps good his promise from the first page to play fair with the clues, I have the feeling this could become one of my new favourites. Despite the gruesome nature of the killings and so on, this feels a lot like a work from the Golden Age- and having the characters trying to solve a series of deaths from the 30s only deepens that feeling.
                >
                > I've been posting my thoughts on the JDCarr forum, and in my last post (it was nearly eaten by the Internet), I went off and rambled on about my various theories which don't seem to work (placing them in the convenient spoiler tags the forum offers). Feel free to read along:
                >
                > http://www.jdcarr.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6933
                >
                > Patrick
                >
              • Patrick O
                I entirely agree with that assessment. I found the book a brilliant read, and plan to put up a spoiler-free blog post about it later today. (For those who have
                Message 7 of 11 , Apr 1, 2011
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                  I entirely agree with that assessment. I found the book a brilliant read, and plan to put up a spoiler-free blog post about it later today. (For those who have read the book, feel free to read my final update in the topic I posted the link to.) I truly consider this book a masterpiece- it's a great example of the traditional fair-play school of mysteries, which we are so badly short of these days.

                  --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "John" <pugmire1@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > It contains one of the greatest red herrings in the history of the genre. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
                  >
                  > If all goes well,EQMM will publish one of Shimada's short stories later this year. I'll keep GADers posted.
                  >
                  > John
                  >
                  > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick O" <go_leafs_nation@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > After joining this group, I looked through old messages and found a few posts that spoke highly of "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders". This looked interesting, and I am the same person who ate through 37 volumes of "Case Closed" in a month (yes, that was me), so my limited experience with Japanese mysteries (albeit it was in manga form) were good. I decided to give this a shot.
                  > >
                  > > Luckily, my university (Waterloo) has agreements with two other local universities, Laurier and Guelph, that allow students from one to access the collections of all three, so I found this book in the University of Guelph. It arrived for me yesterday and I got started. (Poor Jacques Futrelle. This is the second time I've delayed finishing the collection of his stories.) I must say, I am really loving this book. Shimada has instilled in me the feeling of being completely lost in the puzzle, seeming to fail no matter what angle you look at the thing- the same feeling I got when I read the best of Carr for the first time, like "He Who Whispers".
                  > >
                  > > I'm not Japanese, but going by the limits a translation has to offer, Soji Shimada has got some excellent skill- and if he keeps good his promise from the first page to play fair with the clues, I have the feeling this could become one of my new favourites. Despite the gruesome nature of the killings and so on, this feels a lot like a work from the Golden Age- and having the characters trying to solve a series of deaths from the 30s only deepens that feeling.
                  > >
                  > > I've been posting my thoughts on the JDCarr forum, and in my last post (it was nearly eaten by the Internet), I went off and rambled on about my various theories which don't seem to work (placing them in the convenient spoiler tags the forum offers). Feel free to read along:
                  > >
                  > > http://www.jdcarr.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6933
                  > >
                  > > Patrick
                  > >
                  >
                • Last Century Detective
                  Didn t I tell you the solution, concerning the chopped-up body parts, would leave you god smacked? Japanese mystery writers possess a deprived talent to create
                  Message 8 of 11 , Apr 1, 2011
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                    Didn't I tell you the solution, concerning the chopped-up body parts, would leave you god smacked?

                    Japanese mystery writers possess a deprived talent to create clever, fair play puzzle plots and seemingly impossible situations, by playing ghoulish games with a corpse or two (cut-up or not).


                    --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick O" <go_leafs_nation@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I entirely agree with that assessment. I found the book a brilliant read, and plan to put up a spoiler-free blog post about it later today. (For those who have read the book, feel free to read my final update in the topic I posted the link to.) I truly consider this book a masterpiece- it's a great example of the traditional fair-play school of mysteries, which we are so badly short of these days.
                    >
                    > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "John" <pugmire1@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > It contains one of the greatest red herrings in the history of the genre. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
                    > >
                    > > If all goes well,EQMM will publish one of Shimada's short stories later this year. I'll keep GADers posted.
                    > >
                    > > John
                    > >
                    > > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick O" <go_leafs_nation@> wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > After joining this group, I looked through old messages and found a few posts that spoke highly of "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders". This looked interesting, and I am the same person who ate through 37 volumes of "Case Closed" in a month (yes, that was me), so my limited experience with Japanese mysteries (albeit it was in manga form) were good. I decided to give this a shot.
                    > > >
                    > > > Luckily, my university (Waterloo) has agreements with two other local universities, Laurier and Guelph, that allow students from one to access the collections of all three, so I found this book in the University of Guelph. It arrived for me yesterday and I got started. (Poor Jacques Futrelle. This is the second time I've delayed finishing the collection of his stories.) I must say, I am really loving this book. Shimada has instilled in me the feeling of being completely lost in the puzzle, seeming to fail no matter what angle you look at the thing- the same feeling I got when I read the best of Carr for the first time, like "He Who Whispers".
                    > > >
                    > > > I'm not Japanese, but going by the limits a translation has to offer, Soji Shimada has got some excellent skill- and if he keeps good his promise from the first page to play fair with the clues, I have the feeling this could become one of my new favourites. Despite the gruesome nature of the killings and so on, this feels a lot like a work from the Golden Age- and having the characters trying to solve a series of deaths from the 30s only deepens that feeling.
                    > > >
                    > > > I've been posting my thoughts on the JDCarr forum, and in my last post (it was nearly eaten by the Internet), I went off and rambled on about my various theories which don't seem to work (placing them in the convenient spoiler tags the forum offers). Feel free to read along:
                    > > >
                    > > > http://www.jdcarr.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6933
                    > > >
                    > > > Patrick
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                  • Patrick O
                    You certainly did! But whatever I was expecting, it sure wasn t that! Here is my blog post on the book:
                    Message 9 of 11 , Apr 1, 2011
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                      You certainly did! But whatever I was expecting, it sure wasn't that!

                      Here is my blog post on the book:

                      <http://at-scene-of-crime.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-make-saw-look-like-family-film.html>

                      Again, I highly recommend it.

                      --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Last Century Detective" <lastcenturydetective@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Didn't I tell you the solution, concerning the chopped-up body parts, would leave you god smacked?
                      >
                      > Japanese mystery writers possess a deprived talent to create clever, fair play puzzle plots and seemingly impossible situations, by playing ghoulish games with a corpse or two (cut-up or not).
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick O" <go_leafs_nation@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > I entirely agree with that assessment. I found the book a brilliant read, and plan to put up a spoiler-free blog post about it later today. (For those who have read the book, feel free to read my final update in the topic I posted the link to.) I truly consider this book a masterpiece- it's a great example of the traditional fair-play school of mysteries, which we are so badly short of these days.
                      > >
                      > > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "John" <pugmire1@> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > > It contains one of the greatest red herrings in the history of the genre. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
                      > > >
                      > > > If all goes well,EQMM will publish one of Shimada's short stories later this year. I'll keep GADers posted.
                      > > >
                      > > > John
                      > > >
                      > > > --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Patrick O" <go_leafs_nation@> wrote:
                      > > > >
                      > > > > After joining this group, I looked through old messages and found a few posts that spoke highly of "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders". This looked interesting, and I am the same person who ate through 37 volumes of "Case Closed" in a month (yes, that was me), so my limited experience with Japanese mysteries (albeit it was in manga form) were good. I decided to give this a shot.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Luckily, my university (Waterloo) has agreements with two other local universities, Laurier and Guelph, that allow students from one to access the collections of all three, so I found this book in the University of Guelph. It arrived for me yesterday and I got started. (Poor Jacques Futrelle. This is the second time I've delayed finishing the collection of his stories.) I must say, I am really loving this book. Shimada has instilled in me the feeling of being completely lost in the puzzle, seeming to fail no matter what angle you look at the thing- the same feeling I got when I read the best of Carr for the first time, like "He Who Whispers".
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I'm not Japanese, but going by the limits a translation has to offer, Soji Shimada has got some excellent skill- and if he keeps good his promise from the first page to play fair with the clues, I have the feeling this could become one of my new favourites. Despite the gruesome nature of the killings and so on, this feels a lot like a work from the Golden Age- and having the characters trying to solve a series of deaths from the 30s only deepens that feeling.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I've been posting my thoughts on the JDCarr forum, and in my last post (it was nearly eaten by the Internet), I went off and rambled on about my various theories which don't seem to work (placing them in the convenient spoiler tags the forum offers). Feel free to read along:
                      > > > >
                      > > > > http://www.jdcarr.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6933
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Patrick
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • Last Century Detective
                      I posted a short introduction to the hard-to-divine series, Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning. It s of particular interest to mystery readers already familiar
                      Message 10 of 11 , Apr 2, 2011
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                        I posted a short introduction to the hard-to-divine series, Spiral: The Bonds of Reasoning. It's of particular interest to mystery readers already familiar with such series as Case Closed (a.k.a Detective Conan) and Death Note.

                        <http://moonlight-detective.blogspot.com/2011/04/melody-of-logic-must-be-played.html>

                        Let me know what you all think.
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