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Murder in the Crooked House

(御手洗潔 #2)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  67 reviews
A fiendish LOCKED ROOM MYSTERY from the Japanese master of the genre. Never before available in English. By the author of the acclaimed Tokyo Zodiac Murders.
The Crooked House sits on a snowbound cliff overlooking icy seas at the remote northern tip of Japan. A curious place for the millionaire Kozaburo Hamamoto to build a house, but even more curious is the house itself -
Kindle Edition
Published June 25th 2019 by Pushkin Vertigo (first published January 1st 1982)
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3.59  · 
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 ·  288 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: japan, 2019-read
What an unusual and creative locked room mystery! This book plays with the distinction between public and private face (honne - "true sound", and tatemae - "built in front") in Japanese culture: The characters who gather in Kozaburo Hamamoto eccentric maze of a mansion behave a certain way towards each other, but if you look closely, their façades slip from time to time to reveal their true desires. When one of Hamamoto's guests is murdered in a closed room, the police detective who tries to sol ...more
Thanks to Netgalley and Pushkin for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not entirely sure how to rate this book. I enjoyed certain aspects of it - the remote and uniquely interesting setting, the challenge of the locked rooms, the snow piling up and trapping the guests, the Agatha Christie feel of it all - but I also disliked a lot of things. I didn't like that the main/brilliant detective didn't show up until well past the halfway mark. I didn't like the shif
Liz Barnsley
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Review to follow.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the characterisation was not particularly strong and the setting was a bit hard to believe, I highly enjoyed this book and admire the author's logical explanation for the crime - wow I did not see that coming at all and it was quite cool! The dialogues, especially when related to the characters' perceptions of power and human relationships, were very sarcastic and funny haha. I highly enjoyed the parts in which the female characters bitched against each other hahahaha. Compared to Yukit ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
A few firsts for me with this book, first Japanese Author, first locked room murder and I'm left with mixed feelings.

I loved the concept of this, I felt like I was at a murder mystery dinner as its written in this context. Friends have dinner, they go to bed, someone gets murdered. You have the clues, can you solve it? I loved how the author gave a few warm up riddles with the dinner table conversations to get my mind warmed up, I felt I was ready for the task of solving this crime.

But honestl
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I like a lot locked room whodunits, but this one was really far fetched -
a few unpleasant people, together for a christmas dinner, and a season's holiday -
and what a holiday ! 3 dead people, discovered after the police had to knock the door open with an axe !!!! - enters kiyoshi mitarai, supposed to be THE famous sleuth who finds it all, and find it he will, after making himself unpopular with almost everyone -
it is a pity that he didn't appear earlier in the story, it might have been a 3.5/5,
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, translated
I'm a sucker for claustrophobic/inescapable settings, weird architecture, snowy landscapes, and stuff about dolls/automata – and this novel had all of that in spades. I found the problem-solving part quite tedious and the detective character deeply irritating (luckily he only appears halfway through the book). Overall I liked this a lot, and it's nice to read a crime novel that's not about a young woman being tortured.
Nancy Oakes
more at my reading journal, where there are absolutely NO spoilers. You really don't want to know much of anything about this novel before you start.

A few years ago I read and loved Shimada's The Tokyo Zodiac Murders so it was a no-brainer as to whether or not to buy his newest, Murder in the Crooked House. As in The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, at one point in the action, everything comes to a full stop as the author throws out a challenge to his readers, lettin
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
How did I not see it coming? All the clues were there. Mind you, they were not obvious, but they were all there for all to see. Yet, the ending surprised me, even when it made so much sense. Murder in the Crooked House reminds the reader of Agatha Christie (even in the title). There is not just one, but two locked room murders, a cast of suspects and a plot so tight that it’s impossible to put down the book. And these characters are not stereotypical of whodunits, but real, breathing people with ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘That house of horrors that once had us in panic has now fallen into ruin; now home to nothing more than a few shed snakeskins and a whole lot of dust. Nobody visits, and nobody wants to live there.’

A classic of the Japanese locked-room mystery genre, the second in a series featuring astrologer/mystic Kiyoshi Mitarai (the first being ‘The Tokyo Zodiac Murders’). Written and set in the early 1980s, a group of people are invited to stay with the enigmatic businessman Kuzaburo Hamamoto over Christm
Jheelkamal Nayak
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though the book could be really baffling with the names and the places and the very weird and eccentric setting of a crooked house, the explanations given were very logical and believable albeit a little confusing. For most part of the book, the pages kept turning themselves because it was that engrossing. It became a bit predictable towards the end, but the climax was still as surprising as ever.
Far fetching and somewhat unbelievable it maybe, but the story did not lack character nor did i
Not as good as the Tokyo. The culprit was easily identified by me, but I must admit the crime was committed in a somewhat incredible, marvelous way (which means unreal a bit). Nevertheless, this is an easy case, I even had a correct guess about the third crime.
The story was a little long and rambling. I do not know it is the same in the original or the translator isn't qualified enough. Still I love it, because it has in itself the scent of the Golden Age Crimes. The best detail about it, is the
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Murder In The Crooked House” is the sequel to Shamada’s “The Tokyo Zodiac Murders”. The original book came out in 1982, and was revised in 2016. The English translation became available in 2019. It falls into the genre of the locked room mystery, and is very well executed.

The setting is in the remote northern tip of Japan, with the action taking place in the Ice Flow Mansion (The Crooked House). This is a literal name – the house is built on a snowbound cliff, and consists of a maze of sloping
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not your typical murder mystery

Originally written in 1982 by Soji Shimada, the book was revised in 2016 and only available in English translation this year. An award winning mystery writer in Japan, Mr. Shimada has been dubbed the “God of Mystery.” Apparently for good reason. Murder in the Crooked House is a locked room mystery like nothing you have ever read before.

An unnamed narrator (revealed at the end of the book) tells the story of the murders that occur at the architecturally odd Ice Flo
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
After reading Murder in the Crooked House, I have come to realize that locked room mysteries really aren’t my favorite, especially in a longer format such as this novel rather than a short story. For those who appreciate the necessary complexities of this type of novel, this story may provide more enjoyment. That’s not to say there aren’t aspects I did appreciate; there are.

The setting of the novel is unique, the titular “crooked house” that seems to affect everyone who visits. And the house it
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
Crooked House in the northernmost island of Japan
13 people in the crooked house for Christmas Party.
2 murders in locked rooms.
Nobody had a motive yet someone had committed the perfect crime.

This is the first time I was reading a Japanese crime novel (of course, translated in English). It thrilled me when I got the book approved by NetGalley. The narrator starts with the description and comparison between western and Asian architecture. From there it introduces the people arriving at the Chris
* I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. *

Murder in the Crooked House is a clever take on the locked-door mystery. A small group of people has gathered at the mansion of a retired industrialist to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. On the first evening, one of them is found murdered in his room. The door is locked from the inside, there are no other entrances in or out and there are no footprints in the snow outside. The scenario is made wei
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An eminently fun and readable thriller, one where the house that provides for the most masterful locked-room mystery is almost a character itself. When a high-end businessman invites a party for Christmas to his remote and purposely wonky mansion, only for one of the guests to die, everyone is stumped – the room was locked from the inside, hardly anyone would have the strength to kill the man as he was ex-military, even fewer people had even spoken to him, and nobody had any motive whatsoever. A ...more
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not recommended. It sounds great in the trailer. The execution of the characters, plot, and especially the logistics of this house! Bordered the ridiculous instead. And the main 7 or 10 (counting the women) primes never had any deep development to their core personality/ motives, IMHO. Tons of physical description to the point of not understanding the context to which they applied any longer. Graphic drawings seemed ok but also somewhat confusing too. So modular stacked?

The crimes themselves wer
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though Murder in a Crooked House is technically an engaging locked room mystery, I didnt find it as riveting as the premise/synopsis suggested. I think that what I found lacking was a depth to the characters, especially the women. The who and how of the mystery were entertaining to unravel, however the why came as a disappointment. The novel is more procedure driven than character driven. The why reveal was presented, but there were no character clues I could look back at and wonder why I hadnt ...more
"Murder in the Crooked House" was a very enjoyable read. It was a classic whodunit novel - Japanese style. The book included typical and familiar tropes found in many murder/ mystery novels - a large remote house on a cliff, a closed circle of suspects and a quirky and unusual amateur detective.

This was a highly entertaining read that was great fun, although maybe a little far-fetched. I also suspect that it lost something in the translation (or I did). Nevertheless, give this one a try if you
Kasa Cotugno
An isolated mansion in a snowstorm, a disparate collection of visitors and hosts, murders that seem impossible necessitating the arrival of keystone kops Japanese style. Remind you of anything? Also fiendish puzzles, perhaps reminiscent of Sleuth with its collection of puzzles, windups and sly humor. There were some logistical issues I couldn't ignore, and admittedly many characters with similar names (thank heavens for a dramatis personae at the front, which not only listed the players and thei ...more
Melisende d'Outremer
* The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
* Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith
* And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

* Japanese setting
* mysterious house resembling the fun house at the fair
* cast of characters
* red herrings and other oddities

Mix in:
* detailed orientated narrative
* labourious storytelling
* all important final denoument (ie: how it was done)

This is "Murder in a crooked House".
Jul 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is one of the most ludicrous books I have ever read.

The resolution of the mystery is beyond far-fetched.

Also, there is almost no character development, and it barely feels like you are reading about real people.

The only interesting part for me is near the end of the book, where one of the main characters is describing certain events during and shortly after WWII.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Very imaginative, atmospheric, but ultimately very cold whodunit. The psychological explanation --the motive -- is wholly unconvincing, but the ingenious way in which the crime is committed is worth the read. Decent translation, though the whole affair is a bit 'foreign' to western eyes even if it tries hard not to be what with all the Golem myth and Wagner and King Ludwig II stories.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Set in a remote place on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, Kozaburo Hamamoto, a wealthy hermit and his daughter, Eiko have invited friends and acquaintances to their eccentric house for a Christmas celebration. The next day after they arrive, one of the guests is in his room, dead from a stab wound.

Inspector Saburo Ushikoshi and his sidekick, Detective Ozaki are called in to investigate. While the police are trying to figure out the motive behind the murder, another guest turns up dead.

Murder in
Joe Cahill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Murder in the Crooked House is an enjoyable take on the classic whodunnit novel. Soji Shimada playfully uses the genre’s familiar tropes. An isolated country house. A closed circle of suspects. An eccentric amateur detective. It’s a fun albeit far-fetched read.
Jul 07, 2019 added it
Shelves: never-finished
Didn’t finish it.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book make me think more about the meaning of people
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Other books in the series

御手洗潔 (1 - 10 of 30 books)
  • The Tokyo Zodiac Murders (御手洗潔 #1)
  • 御手洗潔の挨拶
  • 異邦の騎士 [Ihō no kishi]
  • 御手洗潔的舞蹈
  • 暗闇坂の人喰いの木 [Kurayamizaka No Hitokui No Ki]
  • 水晶のピラミッド [Suishō No Piramiddo]
  • 眩暈 [Memai]
  • 異位
  • 龍臥亭事件 [Ryūgatei Jiken]
  • 御手洗潔のメロディ [Mitarai Kiyoshi no Melody]