Tuesday, April 20, 2010


On their investigation of Shizunai Mizuki's birthplace, attorney Kawajima Koujirou and his friend Naka Kunihiko, with the only clues being the diary and a letter from her uncle, stumble upon a murder and the mystery of a resurrecting mummy from 20 years ago. Following their investigations, another murder occurs...
First of all, this is being described as a 'jetcoaster mystery' you won't be able to get your eyes off and yes, I loved this book, but this description seems rather forced to me. Same goes for the emphasis on the locked room tricks. Somehow it seems to me like Koudansha did not really know in what drawer they should stuff this into.

And honestly, I could understand that. This novel includes orthodox mystery elements as well as a certain gothic horror atmosphere from time to time and does not shy away from changing narrators and time lines in between. While it seems like Kojima just writes however he wants to at first, at the very end one realizes how well he actually structured and constructed the whole story. And while the story also lives from narrative plays which result in a few more or less cheap tricks, there are also enough downright fair and clever ones to outweigh this and guarantee an awesome finale with twist after twist until your eyes are spinning. However Kojima's nonlinear way of storytelling also requires a fair amount of patience since there are some points in the plot where the reader kind of has to start from 0 again. Therefore I found that jetcoaster comparison to be slightly exaggerated. On the other hand this way of storytelling also ensures good characterization overall and a tense atmosphere throughout longer parts of the novel, which I think also constitutes at least half of what makes this book so enjoyable.

I seriously cannot find any unnecessary aspects. In fact I could rather go on and on pointing out what makes the story so interesting but that would already spoil anything right from the start. This novel is mystery fiction in its most literal sense. Mystery after mystery piles up after the initiating event the title already mentions and just when you think there is nothing mysterious to be solved anymore something else pops up and turns around everything. If I told you more about the premise I would already diminish the enjoyment of certain mysteries' developments and as I said this in connection with the whole story and the characters is what might actually captivate you as the back side of the book promises.

Kojima's balanced approach on combining deduction, atmosphere and character exposition and development felt pretty unique to me in a narrative meaning and by extensively touching on all those aspects over the course of this self-contained novel he left me unable to point out any serious complaints, if any at all. You must not be lead into believing this is a common mystery novel with a common structure and you have to be patient and just let the story unravel before you but if you manage that i would not be surprised if you thoroughly enjoyed it.

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