Nikaidou Reito and Ranko's friend Kurebayashi Hideki and his family are threatened by a mysterious mummy-like man who announces to murder the whole family out of revenge on Hideki's uncle, Kurebayashi Yoshihiko. Reito and Ranko also wind up in the serial murders and Ranko gets to work on her first larger case.
Exactly what I was hoping for. According to Nikaidou himself his motto is "tricks rather than logic, plot rather than tricks" and this absolutely applies to his work. In a positive way.
Instead of just letting the eccentric detective look at the facts and come to a brilliant solution, the reader experiences a whole adventure along with the characters. Nikaidou spends a lot on descriptive parts and the development of atmosphere and tension. His descriptive style can get a little exhausting but what was created as a result always paid off for me. You can even imagine him ticking of points on a list of things you have to include to create absolute uncanniness along his writing process. Quite often this feels more like horror than just mystery, especially in the beginning and the finale. The case itself is solved accordingly without anything left open but what lies beyond that and has to do more with the atmosphere and the motive of the culprit stays quite ambiguous in a very satisfying but also unsettling way.
Even with all the focus on atmosphere and plot the case itself also featured some fine impossible crime situations/locked room murders. I have to agree on the identity of the culprit being rather obvious to a certain extent and if your senses tingle at the right moments but there were enough red herrings to keep anyone unsure and therefore also kept the crimes interesting. Especially the play on the concept of serial murders was quite well done I think.
Overall the murders/tricks, the plot and the tense atmosphere made clear to me why on the one hand Nikaidou Reito is an author whose works split opinions but also why he is such an important author in this genre at the same time. He really resurrects a kind of oldschool-feeling that might not be welcome for all readers nowadays and they might even find it trashy or outdated, but for those who are searching for this exact aspects, the Nikaidou Ranko Series will be just what they are searching for.