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The Inugami Curse (Pushkin Vertigo) Paperback – August 25, 2020
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"[A] stellar whodunit. . . Yokomizo creates a palpable sense of menace throughout with grim foreshadowing of the carnage to come. The solution is a perfect match for the baffling puzzle. Fair-play fans will hope for more translations of this master storyteller." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
‘Japan's Agatha Christie . . . It’s an absolute pleasure to see his work translated at last in these beautifully produced English editions.’ — The Sunday Times
'This is Golden Age crime at its best, complete with red herrings, blind alleys and twists and turns galore... A testament to the power of the simple murder mystery and its enduring appeal.' — The Spectator
'One of Yokomizo's best-loved detective tales -- Kindaichi must solve a slowly growing string of gruesome murders all connected to the mighty Inugami Clan, and uncover the deeply hidden secrets of the clan along the way.' -- Metropolis Japan
‘2020 may be the year of Seishi Yokomizo . . . Both [The Honjin Murders and The Inugami Curse are] set in the late 1930s/early 1940s, they promise to be atmospheric, exciting and knotty whodunits. The covers alone are enough to get any fan of the genre salivating.’ — Japan Times
'The master of Japanese crime.' — Tuttolibri
About the Author
- Publisher : Pushkin Vertigo (August 25, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1782275037
- ISBN-13 : 978-1782275039
- Item Weight : 8.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.09 x 0.83 x 7.71 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #94,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The peculiar last will of a silk tycoon starts the trouble. The lawyer who drew it up is murdered. then more violence ensues, clearly inspired by the will. The Inugami family, whose members can benefit from the will only under certain precise conditions, seem to be under a curse. Also affected by the will is an exquisitely beautiful young woman, daughter of the tycoon’s former priestly benefactor. Tamayo maintains such luminous serenity in the face of horrific events, that Kindaichi is rather suspicious of her.
Several of the characters are guilty of appalling cruelty. Others are singularly unlucky. Shameful secrets are revealed as the plot unfolds. Present horrors are fueled by an abnormal carnal drama in the past.
Although in real life most Japanese people are considerate of others and exceptionally law abiding, in Japanese novels people tend to indulge in tortuous passions, cruelty, and deviant behavior. That’s what makes these books fun — and a little unreal.
I enjoy the unique flavor of Japanese novels, and I enjoyed this one. There’s lots of oddly symbolic bloodshed, a twisty plot, and even a bit of romance thrown in.
Set in Japan in the 1940s after the second world war, the mystery begins with the gathering of a clan after the death of the patriarch. When the will is read, the family is shocked to learn the bizarre legacy left to them – bizarre murders follow shortly. These murders are well-paced with just enough detail to keep the reader on their toes guessing what will happen next.
The Inugami Curse has all the usual hallmarks of a classic mystery – a closed cast of characters, deep character development, a well-described location, diabolical plotting…but it has one unexpected aspect I would have never guessed – magical realism. The author’s perspective on dread and the horror of murder color the prose with a beautiful (if slightly insane) vibrancy that comes to life at the most unexpected moments. The more I read, the more I fell under the spell of the Yokomizo’s prose. It was, quite simply, a hypnotic read. I could not look away.
What was more, I felt a strong connection to the bizarre events of the mystery as well as the characters. When the puzzle is resolved, satisfaction was bittersweet. The human drama described had made it almost impossible to not imagine what happened after the book’s conclusion and how life went on. These are graceful characters who are masterfully arranged to stay with a reader for a long time.
I highly recommend this book.
Like any well thought out puzzle, this tale gave the reader all the characters and all the clues necessary to solve the the crime. There were no surprise actors appearing in the last five pages of the book or events that popped out of left field ultimately determining the events depicted.
This was the kind of read that one likes to curl up with.
Top reviews from other countries
The story is a well constructed puzzle with enough clues for the reader to piece together the solution. Unfortunately the detective Kindaichi is not a terribly interesting character; he's a bit scruffy, and scratches his head and stutters in moments of stress and.. that's about all. The rest of the cast aren't much better, but then these kinds of novels are all about the twisty plot and macabre deaths rather than deep character development. The Inugamis' closet has a lot of skeletons and they are all on view by the last page. On the other hand, Yokimizo has a talent for conjuring mood through vivid descriptions of the landscape and weather. The translator has done a terrific job and the text never reads awkwardly. At about 240 pages it's a quick, fun read.
The scene is set in post-war Japan, in a rural setting just touched by modernity. The plot is clever and the author drops enough hints to engage the reader's 'little grey cells' to quote a famous detective.
Some of the descriptions of characters and their idiosyncrasies are a bit repetitive, and you feel this tome could have been 10% shorter. The novelty effect is not as strong as when you discover the writing style in the first volume of course. Still I will probably buy the third tome when it comes out...
Just finished the Inugami Curse. Fascinating. Unique style. Enjoyed the journey. On to the second novel with great expectations.
Classic crime from Japan. Cleverly and intricately plotted. When the head of the incredibly wealthy Inugami clan passes his family gathers for the reading of the will. Thus begins a series of bizarre and disturbing murders. A gruesome puzzle, well executed with an interesting detective in Kindaichi. A treat from the Golden Age of crime.
(Many thanks to NetGalley/ Publisher/ Author)