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?
About the Author
Seishi Yokomizo (1902-81) was one of Japan's most famous and best-loved mystery writers. He was born in Kobe and spent his childhood reading detective stories, before beginning to write stories of his own, the first of which was published in 1921. He went on to become an extremely prolific and popular author, best known for his Kosuke Kindaichi series, which ran to 77 books, many of which were adapted for stage and television in Japan. The Honjin Murders is the first Kosuke Kindaichi story, and regarded as one of Japan's great mystery novels. It won the first Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1948 but has never been translated into English, until now.
Originally from Manchester, UK, Louise Heal Kawai has lived in Japan for about 25 years and been a translator of Japanese literature for the past 10. Her translations include the bestselling memoir Yakuza Moon by Shoko Tendo, the ground-breaking feminist Taeko Tomioka novel Building Waves, and A Quiet Place by the mystery writer Seicho Matsumoto. Ms Ice Sandwich is her second Mieko Kawakami translation.
"A classic locked-room murder mystery, the first in the Detective Kindaichi series . . . The solution to this mystery came as a complete surprise — exactly what I asked for." -- New York Times Book Review
'With a reputation in Japan to rival Agatha Christie’s, the master of ingenious plotting is finally on the case for anglophone readers.' — Guardian
‘A beloved Japanese detective at last appears in English . . . If the whole series is as ingenious and compelling, this translation should be the first of many. Readers will delight in the blind turns, red herrings and dubious alibis.’ — Economist
‘The perfect read for this time of year. Short and compelling, it will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie looking for a new case to break.’ — Irish Times ‘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
‘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
‘The perfect gift for any fan of classic crime fiction or locked room mysteries.’ — Mrs Peabody Investigates
‘The beauty of this book is that it’s never anything less than fun from beginning to end, but it is also smartly political, and the theatrical elements – the fourth wall-breaking, the static setting, the large cast of eclectic characters – make for a truly engrossing novel. This is, in short, a superb winter read.’ — Books and Bao ‘The Honjin Mysteries is beautifully writing and highly descriptive, rich in period detail and local custom. It’s an ingenious and deceptive mystery. An ideal book to curl up with on a winter’s night.’ — NB Magazine
'The master of Japanese crime.' — Tuttolibri
“[The Honjin Murders] is a perfect example of a honkaku mystery: a fascinating form of crime writing that first emerged in Japan in the 1920s and, thanks to a recent raft of translations and republications, is now enjoyed by English readers more than ever.” - The Guardian