Exploring Japanese Detective Stories: Honkaku Mysteries


511qA5dMDQL._UY250_Japanese Detective Fiction comes in many flavours. At this stage I’m mainly interested on Honkaku. To become familiar with it I’ve made up the following list. Not sure whether all the books and authors can be qualified as Honkaku. Your help to improve this list will be highly appreciated.

On my TBR

  1. The Black Lizard (1934) and Beast in the Shadows (1928) by Edogawa Ranpo (1894 – 1965) pen name of Tarō Hirai
  2. Inspector Imanishi Investigates (1961) by Seichō Matsumoto (1909 – 1992)
  3. Murder in the Crooked House  (1982) by Soji Shimada (Born October 12, 1948)
  4. The Devotion of Suspect X (2005) (Detective Galileo Series #1) by Keigo Higashino (Born February 4, 1958)
  5. Salvation of a Saint (2008) (Detective Galileo Series #2) by Keigo Higashino (Born February 4, 1958)
  6. Murder in the Red Chamber (2004) by Taku Ashibe (Born 21 May 1958).

On my Wish List

  1. The Ginza Ghost, is a collection of twelve of Keikichi Osaka (1912 – 1945 ) pen-name of Fukutarō Suzuki best stories, almost all impossible crimes.
  2. The Tattoo Murder Case (1948) by Akimitsu Takagi (1920 – 1995) pen-name of Takagi Seiichion.
  3. The Resurrection Fireplace (2011) by Hiroko Minagawa (Born 1930).
  4. The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (1981) by Soji Shimada (Born October 12, 1948).
  5. The Moai Island Puzzle (1989) by Alice Arisugawa (Born April 26, 1959) pen name of Masahide Uehara.
  6. The Decagon House Murders (1987) by Yukito Ayatsuji (Born December 23, 1960) pen name of Naoyuki Uchida.
  7. The 8 Mansion Murders (1989) by Takemaru Abiko (Born October 7, 1962)

On my radar (Authors whose books have not been translated into English yet, as far as I know)

  • Kaoru Kitamura (Born December 28, 1949) pen name of Kazuo Miyamoto
  • Rintaro Norizuki (Born 15 October 1964)

3 thoughts on “Exploring Japanese Detective Stories: Honkaku Mysteries

  1. There are only four notable titles missing from your list: Okamoto Kido’s The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi: Detective Stories of Old Edo, Seichi Matsumoto’s Points and Lines, NisiOisN’s The Kubikiri Cycle and Seishi Yokomizo’s The Inugami Clan.

    Kido’s Hanshichi series is an early example of the historical detective written, if I remember correctly, in the 1920s. Matsumoto’s Points and Lines is a very well done police procedural and somewhat of a modern take on the Freeman Wills Crofts-style detective story. The Kubikiri Cycle is, what’s known in Japan, as a “Light Novel” (Young Adult) with one hell of a locked room murder and The Inugami Clan is simply one of the best Japanese detective novels.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

    1. Okamoto Kido’s books are available in Spanish. Also Seichi Matsumoto’s Points and Lines has been translated as El expreso de Tokyo, and I have downloaded The Inugami Clan in Spanish.

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