Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Teshigawara Jun, a famous blind scientist and his female assistant Morishima Yuka, three other scientists and one doctor plan on spending time gathering data in a concreted shelter located in one of the pillars maintaining the world's biggest oversea suspension bridge. One day after they arrived and settled in an earthquake happens which causes the security system to lock up the whole complex. On top of that the communication system is found destroyed and the six find themselves in a complete locked-room situation. And of course, murder after murder happens until only Teshigawara and Morishima are left...

Those two are actually switched out by their brother and sister and each one thinks they are the only impersonator (this whole premise is already told in the prologue so I don't think of this as a spoiler). The narration constantly switches between those nameless impersonators which I found to be quite interesting and I was expecting the characters to be... well, at least developed in a comprehensible manner. Which unfortunately wasn't the case. However during the unnecessary double-twist at the end I realized this was irrelevant anyway... Just like most of the events and aspects in the whole book.

This really was one of those mindfuck-twists that might work in horror-stories... but certainly not in an at first seemingly classical mystery story. Even all the scientific, technological aspects of the whole setting were considered and integrated into the whole reasoning process and the first twist and solution was indeed surprising but not unbelievable... but then Mori Hiroshi kind of decided to destroy any kind of convention and therefore this whole book ends with a very aggravating aftertaste.

Now concerning those kinds of aftertaste... They can actually work quite well. The Zaregoto series managed to create some good endings that went against certain conventions and left the reader with a weird aftertaste but I was able to like them on a meta-level after all. Or have a look at Paul Auster's City of Glass where from the beginning of the book the whole setting was foreshadowing an outcome like that. In a seemingly classical mystery story though, which even provides you with all the necessary aspects to regard it as such, an ending like this splits the whole story into two different plots on the narrative level. Or at least I wanted to interpret and like it in that way... but after a week I finally gave up and have to conclude that I do not hate this book but I didn't like it either and therefore I cannot really recommend it except maybe to readers of this genre who are interested in very unusual endings and the destruction of conventions. The author even kind of included a hidden message in the epilogue how he wanted to destroy those conventions people hold so dear... and even if I can accept that motivation of his I don't have to like this whole book, do I?

I always thought what kills Mystery and Reasoning is supernatural elements... but in fact from now on I'll switch that out with unnecessary exaggeratedly constructed psychological elements since those can be responsible for narrative aspects that can actually render the whole story unsavory for the reader.

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