Mystery

(Detective Kosuke Kindaichi #3,#4) by Seishi Yokomizo

I read and reviewed the first two books released for this series. They were not in the right order, but that is not something that makes too much of a difference. I found them entertaining and decided to pick up the next ones that were available. I am glad I did so because I found these two to be better than the first set that I attempted.

Death on Gokuman Island translated by Louise Heal Kawai

The second book of the series, according to Goodreads, is the ‘Death on Gokuman Island’. The ambience is well established by the author as he talks of a remote island, the isolation of which has led to its own twisted hierarchies and issues.
The narrative begins with the loss of Japan in the World War, and it was beyond fascinating to see it and the losses families faced narrated from the native perspective. The people in the story fall into two categories. Those who actively fought and carry the scars on them (either mental or physical) and those who had to watch from afar and assist locally in any way they saw fit.
I tried to read this book with the mindset that it was not written in a different language, and any descriptions I thought were repetitive were probably something that comes along with the territory of both the age and nationality of the writer. I state this because I think it is only because I was mindful of possible new presentation styles that I was able to appreciate the mystery.
Our lead character is a detective who had his career hampered by being drafted into the war. He is now on the way to a remote island in order to keep a deathbed promise to a comrade in arms. He has to figure out the different subtle and overt relationship issues that plague the head family of the island. In order to muddy the water, there is also an escaped pirate on the loose. There is a lot to take in with regards to the different nuances. Even with that, the gloom was pervasive, and it was not hard to feel the problems doubling with every subsequent death. The ending twist was unexpected, and the way it was handled was actually a point in its favour that bumped it up for me. I am talking only of the reveal and not what people do with that information!
The culture is unique, as is the time of the story. If nothing else, these two points are reasons for any interested party to pick this book up! The translator did a pretty great job in bringing this to a language I could appreciate the work in.
I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers, but my review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this and other works in the series.

Village of Eight Graves translated by Bryan Karetnyk

I have read three other books with the lead character and think that this was probably the one that had the most delayed entry of our detective.
Like the other stories, we are first given an in-depth view of the location where the story is based. The history and rumours of the past, as well as the existing shadows in the Village of Eight Graves, are well established before we are introduced to any of the current players.
A lost young man with poor prospects is suddenly informed of a possible windfall. The fact that this information is accompanied by shady rumours does not dissuade him since he has nothing better to hope for in life. Once we get to know the mental and fiscal state of our lead protagonist, the first death occurs. Even with this hanging over his head, our sad young man years for family connections and is slightly enamoured by his companion.
Once he gets to the village, he finds out that they are all up in arms against him, thanks to the past. Once more people start dying, he struggles to maintain a semblance of sanity. The detective, with his scratching head( I really do not know why the focus is on the latter’s dandruff, but I am starting to get used to it now!), makes a very subtle appearance. Although he provides advice, the voice and plotline focus entirely on the adventure of our lead protagonist. He actually figures things out thanks to running into the explanation rather than the detective work. The love story was slightly weird but given the situation of the book, it sort of made sense.
Even if no actual detection resulted in the final conclusions, it was an intriguing journey. There were hints at every stage. These hints took me on a chase as small clues led to smaller revelations concerning secrets of the past. The set-up felt so complete that I liked the journey and felt that the book served its purpose.
Like the previous work that I reviewed, the translator did a pretty great job of keeping me immersed in the story.
I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley and the publishers, but my review is entirely based on my own reading experience of this and other works in the series.

9 thoughts on “(Detective Kosuke Kindaichi #3,#4) by Seishi Yokomizo”

    1. I do not know if its because of the order(most definitely influenced my experience) I read it in but it would probably be 1) Gokuman 2) Village Graves 3)Honjin and then Inugami…How about you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The extended crowd in each narrative is quite unique from the other in the dramatic behaviours 😃would love to see your reactions on the others

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      1. gokuman had pirates, madness and secret romances ( or hints of them) as well as deathbed promises 😉 wealth and reputation based on inheritance were also there.. But I do agree the twists in familial issues was more pronounced in eight graves.🤔

        Liked by 1 person

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