Monday, April 26, 2010


Mizuno Satoru, temporary deputy supervisor of a travel agency, and Minami Yukari, one of this agency's employees, get caught up as suspects in various murder cases in Karuizawa's area by coincidence and end up forced to make sense of these peculiar murders to prove their own innocence.

This book gave birth to the detective figure Mizuno Satoru and his series is Nikaidou Reito's attempt at writing a light mystery set in the present time. Well... present time as in not taishou or shouwa... to be precise, it's set in 1994, so at the point the new bunko edition of this was released (2008) it already was nostalgic again considering aspects like the rapid technological progress. Anyway, what I meant with present time setting is to be understood as in more realistic, less atmosphere and with a tourist spot like Karuizawa as location it seems to be comparable to other travel mysteries like those by Nishimura Kyoutarou or Uchida Yasuo. And sadly this book also reminded me of why I will most likely never read a book by them even considering how popular and essential they are...

It's just too light. Everything. The characters, the story, the setting, the case... just everything. The strangeness of the murders mostly goes under in all the lightness and the tricks themselves, which more or less are the central element in such a book, are kind of a mixed bag. Overall they were so simple I rather didn't come up with the solution. Satoru actually mentions himself that a lot of solutions become clear as soon as you look at a case in the most simple way you could. I'm still kind of naive and oblivious to the fact that anything mentioned in a mystery novel can become a hint... Well, all in all it's more about whodunit and whydunit than about any fancy tricks and howdunit. Orthodox and fair overall though so I guess this book is not recommendable for anything else than some pastime. It is not bad but it also isn't anything significantly good either. Not much focus on the story/case, rather bland characters, just a plain and solid travel mystery. You won't gain much by reading it but you won't really regret it either.

With Nikaidou kind of trying himself at another sub-genre after his uber-orthodox Nikaidou Ranko Series, this can not be called representative for him as an author and reading this first has more or less been a mistake but now I want to get to know his debut series even more. There is one novel in the Mizuno Satoru Series I want to try out though. The most recent book which is part of his series in his student timeline is structured like an inverted detective story and seems to split the readers' opinions in half. Those who like it argue, that 智天使(ケルビム)の不思議 seems like Nikaidou's version of 容疑者Xの献身 after he openly criticized Higashino Keigo's book for not being orthodox. Apparently his 'version' features a really evil culprit and a huge twist even regarding its specific structure and considering he is called ”本格の神様” by mystery maniacs this could be quite interesting as long as it's not written in the overall light standard of the series. Next up will be the Ranko debut though...

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