My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was my first ‘locked-room’ mystery. Or rather, the first time I was aware I was reading one.
I think discovering this genre got me really excited and I began with too much anticipation and expectation, which almost always seems to dis-favour the book and therefore it fell a little short of my usual 4 star experience.
I’ve come to love Japanese fiction and so far I’ve only explored the mystery and crime genres there. Clearly this book has gained cult status, appearing on several ‘locked-room’ and Japanese crime/mystery lists. For a first book, I think it was very good and quite clever. Through almost 80% of the book my interest was high and I was reading at every given opportunity. It was only towards the end that I felt a bit deflated.
But I wont be discounting Soji Shimada just yet. I can only imagine his writing and plots getting better. His Wikipedia page invokes enough interest and intrigue – – – “He is a strong supporter of amateur Honkaku (i.e. authentic, orthodox) mystery writers. Following the trend of Social School of crime fiction led by Seicho Matsumoto, he was the pioneer of “Shin-Honkaku” (New Orthodox) logic mystery genre. He led the mystery boom from the late 1980s to present day. As the father of “Shin-Honkaku,” Shimada is sometimes referred to as “The Godfather of Shin-Honkaku” or “God of Mystery.”
There is no giving up on this God of Mystery.