Turning Japanese #18: Death Within the Evil Eye (2019) by Masahiro Imamura (translated by Ho-Ling Wong)

Yuzuru Hamura, having survived the events of Death Among the Undead, picks up his pen once more to relate the second case of the Shinko University Mystery Society.

His colleague, Hiruko, has discovered that the Madarame Organisation, who had a hand in the previous book, had done some psychic research years before, and so the pair head off into the countryside to investigate a prophetess whose predictions have recently been coming true. En route they meet Marie Toiro, another student, who sketches a boar being run over by their bus, minutes before it actually happens.

They arrive at a village that seems to be completely deserted, and after meeting a number of other visitors, the whole group makes their way over a rickety wooden bridge to the old research facility where the seer Sakimi still lives. They soon learn that her latest prophecy is that two men and two women will die in the locality on the last two days of November. Today is the twenty-eighth and Toiro starts to sketch a burning bridge…

The next day a man dies in what seems to be an accidental landslide and a woman is almost poisoned before a definite murder occurs. Are the fortune tellers ensuring their predictions come true or do they have genuine supernatural abilities? And if so, can anyone prevent the foretold third and fourth deaths?

And why has the murderer killed under these circumstances? As Hiruko says:

“When the police eventually arrive and they learn that a murder has been committed here, what do you think they will do? It will be clear the murderer must be one of us. We’ll be investigated and they will start digging into our backgrounds. It’s extremely likely, therefore, that they will find the culprit. Which means there is no situation less suitable for a murder than a closed circle.”

There is a brilliant piece of Queenian deduction which explains why the murderer spent time ransacking the victim’s room and this is followed up with some inspired guesswork to fully explain the motive behind the murders.

There is a teaser at the end for the third book in the series. Here’s hoping Locked Room International can get the rights to translate and that Ho-Ling Wong has some availability in the next year or so!

Click here for more reviews of Japanese mystery fiction.

2 thoughts on “Turning Japanese #18: Death Within the Evil Eye (2019) by Masahiro Imamura (translated by Ho-Ling Wong)”

  1. John Pugmire hinted (i.e. all but confirmed) a translation of the third book is in the pipeline. I described Death Among the Undead as a shock to system and Death Within the Evil Eye as the calm that comes after the storm. Ho-Ling’s review of the third book suggests a coming to terms with a new reality and comes out guns blazing. Something to look forward to!


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