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The Moai Island Puzzle

(Egami Jiro #2)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In his introduction, Soji Shimada, the doyen of the Japanese form of Golden Age detective fiction known as shin honkaku, calls this novel a masterpiece and Publisher’s Weekly gives it a starred review.

Three students from Eito University in Kyoto travel to a remote island populated with moai statues in order to find a hidden treasure, but several murders—including one
Paperback, 232 pages
Published May 21st 2016 by Locked Room International (first published July 1989)
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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 ·  125 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got from other review and book introduction that the author want to continue the tradition of Ellery Queen. After reaching the near-end, I found it: the author challenges readers to guess the culprit. This is the strong point of this book, a fair intellectual challenge to readers as in shin honkaku movement.

Maybe my rating affected with other expectations that not fulfilled regarding continuing the tradition of Ellery Queen. (view spoiler)
Sep 23, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. So this was not interesting at all. I finished this morning and was bored senseless. There are elements that remind me a bit of the "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders" with the author throwing down a gauntlet asking the reader to solve, but I had no idea who did it and the resolution at the end was way too "talky." It didn't help that the author, Alice Arisugawa, put himself in this book as a character. Way too surreal for me and I just got glad to be done with it.

"The Maoi Island Puzzle" follows
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a very formal Japanese "closed room" mystery. It takes place completely on a island during a 5 day summer holiday- no transportation "off" possible. There are 11 characters and its wording, nuance to meaning, clue giving and asides and references to other mystery writers of the last 150 plus years are prime to the "knowledge" that the reader needs to assume a guess. And you are actually asked to guess at a point that is 80% into the copy. I guessed wrong.

It's first half was a 4 star,
Irfan Nurhadi
Okay, now where to begin?

Cerita dimulai dari pertemuan klub misteri di Universitas Eito, Kyoto. Maria Arima, salah satu anggota klub (dan satu-satunya cewe di klub tsb) mengundang Egami Jiro (ketua klub), dan Alice Arisugawa untuk berlibur di villa pamannya, di sebuah pulau terpencil (bisa dibilang pulau pribadi). Alasan Maria mengajak berlibur ternyata adalah untuk meminta bantuan rekan klubnya memecahkan misteri harta karun yang ditinggalkan oleh kakeknya sebelum meninggal. Kakek Maria, yang
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Honkaku" is a genre of Japanese mystery novel meaning "fair play." In the tradition of Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, you are meant to solve the book like a puzzle. Of the three honkaku I have read, this is the best one: it has the character emotions and atmospheric descriptions that the others seem less interested in along with a very complex murder mystery that brings plenty of surprises. These books tend to take their time setting up events before getting to the crime, so don't ...more
Little Miss-Tery
Jul 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
I don’t often go to the effort of writing reviews, unless a book is truly exceptional. This book was certainly exceptional, but not in a good way. I have read many, many, many mystery novels, and yet I can say definitively that this is the most painfully boring mystery I have ever read. EVER. I don’t think I could write a plot this boring or a narrative this dry even if I tried. I’ve read some dry mysteries before but in comparison this novel was as dry as a fossilized cactus in the middle of ...more
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
Alice Arisugawa is the third Honkaku Mystery Writers Club of Japan author I’ve tried. I thought Arisugawa would also be my first female honkaku mystery author, but I didn’t bother to research that and, as it turns out, the author is actually male.

He also wrote a male character named after his pseudonym into The Moai Island Puzzle. I don’t like when authors write themselves into their own books, even if all they and their character have in common is their names, so this was a bit of a red flag
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sono sempre stato un grande amante del giallo classico/deduttivo, meglio se presenta una situazione impossibile o una camera chiusa. Aggiungendo inoltre che vado matto per le atmosfere orientaleggianti, non potevo non prendere questo romanzo, che fonde insieme queste mie due passioni.
"The moai island puzzle" è un mystery classico (o meglio uno "shin honkaku", appartenente cioè al periodo di rinascita del giallo deduttivo in Giappone intorno agli anni '80) in cui si fondono tutti gli elementi più
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ku
A late 1980s Japanese locked room mystery in the shin honkaku style with a mystery puzzle plot. The book has a very good introduction and history of the development of different schools of Japanese mystery writers. Thirteen people were to spend five days on a remote island with no contact with the outside world (yes, the only wireless set for communication was destroyed by the murderer). A few murders ensured. Three amateur detectives from a university mystery club happened to be visitors on the ...more
Francine Chu
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
You can’t get a more typical Japanese locked room mystery than this:

High schoolers going to an isolated island by ferry. Predictably, there’s a storm and/ or all communication with the outside world is gone. The ferry will only come a few days after the first murder. The radio transmitters are spoilt. A dying message (or rather a die-Ing massegu). An eccentric owner plus his strange guests. The island will be in a weird shape to ensure the killer could never have done it...but they did. Enjoy!

Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Subdued, almost dour, très japonais, very competent whodunit. If you like Ellery Queen, The Decagon House Murders, Zelda, Ten Little Expletives, Detective Conan, and locked rooms, you’ll like this.

I found The Moai Island Puzzle similar to another LRI re-issue, Come to Paddington Fair. Both are puzzle-heavy with solutions that live up to the problems, both drag in the second act, maybe because both lack interesting and exciting characters saying and doing interesting and exciting things.

Umer Abbas
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Paul Halter was being hailed as the new Carr Alice Arisugawa was being compared to the likes of Queen . I read this to see if the comparisons were justified. I would say a very good contender to the queenian logic and deductive methods although not up to Ellery's standards but a pretty solid attempt. The main deduction was wonderful even though knowing the killer relied on one lucky event . As for the impossibility that was not too surprising and not astounding.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good atmosphere. The solution was good but not psychologically plausible. I found it a little difficult to keep the characters straight, probably due to my lack of familiarity with Japanese names. I read it as e-book but paperback might have been better so I could have flipped easily to the list of characters and the map that the book includes.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Even though it was kindly translated into English for me, I'm too much of a bakatare for this Japanese mystery genre. Or maybe it was just plain dull.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018, mystery
I read this book for a book challenge and I kind of liked it.
Puzzle Doctor
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Well constructed but somewhat uninvolving. Full review at
Abhishekh Kumar
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Blurb

Three friends of a mystery club go to an island for a holiday. But that turns out to be pretty bad due to the weather and also the murders...

The thing I love a lot about this book is that it can be solved. The author writes such a good ending that he doesn't conjure some gimmick to make the climax first class.

All the events are explained well. The writing creates an air of mystery around the characters. Who would have done it???

The book doesn't punch you with the killer's name.
Elaine Tomasso
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Written in 1988 The Moai Island Puzzle is part of the new wave of Japanese locked room mysteries. I must admit that I didn't know there was an old wave never mind a new one and came to the novel through a recommendation on Crime Fiction Lover.

Three students, Maria, Alice (a young man) and Mr Egami, all members of the Eito University Club, travel to Maria's family's island holiday home to try and find a cache of diamond jewellery her grandfather hid before his death using his "evolving puzzle"
David Chamberlain
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Classic locked room mystery ably translated by Mr. Wong. We can only hope he will continue to translate the works of Ayatsuji, Arisugawa, and others.

Not only a locked room, but a mysterious puzzle on the island: what do the moai statues signify? Trapped on the island, the members of the college mystery club try to solve 4 murders.
Richard Janzen
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A murder mystery / treasure hunt that is meticulously created on an island with a specific cast, limited and set transportation, no alibis, and multiple motives. A Japanese-style Agatha Christie- type mystery.
Margaret Tassey
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure puzzle

Modern mystery novels tend to focus on the dysfunctional lives of the detectives and other interested parties. This one strips all that away. It is like a Japanese garden or house. Spare. Polite.

I really enjoyed it.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: japanese-writers
A real whodunnit. No worries about motive.
Peter Munford
rated it really liked it
Dec 24, 2019
Chris Devine
rated it liked it
Mar 17, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2018
rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2019
rated it liked it
Apr 20, 2019
Teri L. Vorass
rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2018
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