Japanese Mystery Stories you say – anthologised by Ellery Queen you say – sign me up I say!
With my increasing interest in Japanese Detective Fiction buying this was a no-brainer. Originally published in 1978 as “Ellery Queen’s Japanese Golden Dozen” this contains twelve stories written in the 1970s. Unfortunately details of the translators are not provided so I can’t give them the credit they so richly deserve.
Too Much About Too Many by Eirao Ishizawa*
Taro Usami was a quiet man whom his colleagues confide in without thinking about it until someone realises they have said too much and that he must be silenced forever. A good use of a very old idea.
The Cooperative Defendant by Seicho Matsumoto
The case seemed simple… the police had a confession and then everything started to unravel. Although the style was very different, the content reminded me of the stories of Cyril Hare.
A Letter from the Dead by Tohru Miyoshi
Shunya Wakizaka is fed up of working on the readers’ column of a Tokyo newspaper so jumps at the chance to investigate a letter written from beyond the grave.
Devil of a Boy by Seiichi Morimura
Soichi Ono is a bad boy but would he really kill someone?
Cry from the Cliff by Shizuko Natsuki
Shin’ichi Takida is drawn back into the life of an old school friend with tragic consequences. Something struck me about this early on and if I’d have held on to it I may solved this one.
The Kindly Blackmailer by Kyotaro Nishimura*
A new customer entered the barber shop. And with that Shinkichi Nomura’s life is turned upside down.
No Proof by Yoh Sano*
Keiji Nogami surprises his colleagues with disastrous consequences. The most Queenian of these stories.
Invitation from the Sea by Saho Sasazawa
Sadahiko Kogawa accepts an anonymous invitation from “The Sea” only to find he is not the only guest at the gathering.
Facial Restoration by Tadao Sohno
Goro Koike, working in the new field of reconstructing a dead person’s face from just their skull, receives assistance from an unlikely source.
The Vampire by Masako Togawa
Jiro has his blood sucked in different ways by different people – not really my cup of tea.
Write In, Rub Out by Takao Tsuchiya
There is more to Misae Akitsu’s suicide than meets the eye – best not to read the introduction to this one. Another with a more Queenian bent.
Perfectly Lovely Ladies by Yasutaka Tsutsui*
An initially amusing but ultimately chilling and disturbing tale of what eight “perfectly lovely ladies” get up to when they become dissatisfied with their lot in life.
With the stories all coming from the Seventies and thus falling between the honkaku and shin honkaku periods, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, however there was enough good in their to make it worth my while with stories marked * being my favourites.
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