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A fiendish classic murder mystery, from one of Japan’s greatest crime writers.

In 1940s Japan, the wealthy head of the Inugami Clan dies, and his family eagerly await the reading of the will. But no sooner are its strange details revealed than a series of bizarre, gruesome murders begins. Detective Kindaichi must unravel the clan's terrible secrets of forbidden liaisons, monstrous cruelty, and hidden identities to find the murderer, and lift the curse wreaking its bloody revenge on the Inugamis.

The Inugami Curse is a fiendish, intricately plotted classic mystery from a giant of Japanese crime writing, starring the legendary detective Kosuke Kindaichi.

321 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 12, 1972

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About the author

Seishi Yokomizo

248 books385 followers
Seishi Yokomizo (横溝 正史) was a novelist in Shōwa period Japan.
Yokomizo was born in the city of Kobe, Hyōgo (兵庫県 神戸市). He read detective stories as a boy and in 1921, while employed by the Daiichi Bank, published his first story in the popular magazine "Shin Seinen" (新青年[New Youth]). He graduated from Osaka Pharmaceutical College (currently part of Osaka University) with a degree in pharmacy, and initially intended to take over his family's drug store even though sceptical of the contemporary ahistorical attitude towards drugs. However, drawn by his interest in literature, and the encouragement of Edogawa Rampo (江戸川 乱歩), he went to Tokyo instead, where he was hired by the Hakubunkan publishing company in 1926. After serving as editor in chief of several magazines, he resigned in 1932 to devote himself full-time to writing.
Yokomizo was attracted to the literary genre of historical fiction, especially that of the historical detective novel. In July 1934, while resting in the mountains of Nagano to recuperate from tuberculosis, he completed his first novel "Onibi" (『鬼火』), which was published in 1935, although parts were immediately censored by the authorities. Undeterred, Yokomizo followed on his early success with a second novel Ningyo Sashichi torimonocho (1938–1939). However, during World War II, he faced difficulties in getting his works published due to the wartime conditions, and was in severe economic difficulties. The lack of Streptomycin and other antibiotics also meant that his tuberculosis could not be properly treated, and he joked with friends that it was a race to see whether he would die of disease or of starvation.
However, soon after the end of World War II, his works received wide recognition and he developed an enormous fan following. He published many works via Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine in serialized form, concentrating only on popular mystery novels, based on the orthodox western detective story format, starting with "Honjin Satsujin Jiken" (『本陣殺人事件』) and "Chōchō Satsujin Jinken" (『蝶々殺人事件』) (both in 1946). His works became the model for postwar Japanese mystery writing. He was also often called the "Japanese John Dickson Carr" after the writer whom he admired.
Yokomizo is most well known for creating the private detective character Kosuke Kindaichi (金田一 耕助). Many of his works have been made into movies.
Yokomizo died of colon cancer in 1981. His grave is at the Seishun-en cemetery in Kawasaki, Kanagawa (神奈川県 川崎市).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 665 reviews
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,677 reviews5,258 followers
August 16, 2018
The icy cold inscrutable impassive blindingly beautiful chillingly restrained woman at the heart of the mystery. The diabolical vindictive teeth-chattering spine-tingling insane evil oh so evil string of gruesome horrible heartless vicious eye-burning soul-churning murders. I really love adjectives in general, but sometimes there's a limit and this novel went waaay past that limit! Anyway... those poor filthy rich Inugamis, they have some unlucky luck with this mean-spirited murderer running about, killing off their heirs one by one, oh and some hapless lawyer too. He probably shouldn't have messed about with the Inugami Clan because that's one bad-to-know clan, no matter how rich they are.

This was okay. It was fun, in its way. Yokomizo has a calm, even dry style - except for the over the top way the murders and especially his characters are described, often when they are all just sitting in a room talking and listening to each other. In the novel's favor: a satisfyingly bizarre answer to the murderous puzzles on display (literally put on display).

There were a couple things that I quite liked. The gay stuff, because that was surprising. And that one heir who wears a creepy mask designed to look like his own face. That creepy mask sure was frightening, eerie, disturbing, sinister, weird, hair-raising, menacing, threatening, unsettling, spooky, scary, freaky and just plain [enter adjective here].
Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,207 followers
April 8, 2022
The Inugami Clan is probably one of Japanese detective novelist Seishi Yokomizo's most famous and widely adored detective novels, the novel has been adapted into movies for at least twice--the first time done masterfully, but the second time of the adaptation was done horribly, by the same director. Irony, the irony.

Edited@08/04/2022: I bought the English translation and read it, I think the translation is doing a good job despite other readers who actually know Japanese noted that there are some inaccuracies here and there.

Edited@23/12/2021: I'd re-read this crime&mystery novel many times so I now re-read it in English and I'm glad the English-speaking readers have a chance to read this Japanese murder mystery classic!

Here's the outline of the story: In the 1940s Japan, the wealthy patriarch of the Inugami Clan died due to old age, but the old man left behind a highly unusual or even bizarre last will. In his last will, the head of the Inugami Clan revealed the new heir to be no other than an orphaned young woman who was adopted into the family (her late grandfather was the old man's best friend and benefactor), instead of one of the old man's own flesh and blood (e.g. his daughters or grandsons).

Also according to the last will, the beautiful young orphan must in turn decide who would become the next family leader by marrying a man from the Inugami direct bloodline---one of the late patriarch's three grandsons. Shortly after the will was announced, members of the Inugami Clan were being murdered one by one, and Detective Kindaichi must step in to investigate.

Once you open the book, you are in for a bloodcurdling, horrifying but intriguing ride through the many secrets of the Inugami Clan ('Inugami' means 'god of dogs' in Japanese and yes, it's a family name).

Reading this book may give you the feeling of reading a Gothic horror novel. The murder mystery is masterfully crafted and revealed by the novelist (and don't forget the murderer's many creative and strangely beautiful methods of killing the victims!), and before we reach the ending, there're many schemes, deadly secrets, human dramas, love-hate relationships among family members, conflicts and romance waiting for us to discover.

To sum up, I think this book is a finely written detective novel with a lot of good dramas and high value of entertainment. Although it may not be Yokomizo's best of the best masterpiece (most people think Hell Gate Isle is his best works), still it clearly is an outstanding and unforgettable novel.

My Top Ten Yokomizo's Detective Kosuke Kindaichi Mysteries novels

1.惡魔的手毬歌 / A Devilish Temari Song (my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
2.本陣殺人事件 / The Honjin Murders (my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
3.犬神家一族 / The Inugami Clan (my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
4.獄門島 / Gokumon Island (my review for Gokumonto: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
5.夜行 / Night Walk (my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
6.惡魔吹著笛子來 / The Devil Comes and Plays His Flute
7.惡靈島 / Demon Island (my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)
8. 醫院坡上吊之家 / The House of Hanging on Hospital Slope
9. 女王蜂 / Queen Bee
10. 八墓村 / The Village of Eight Graves
Profile Image for Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ .
815 reviews617 followers
June 15, 2020

Net Galley & Pushkin Press gave me a copy of this book to review. Thank you very much!

I don't read a lot of Japanese literature, but that doesn't mean I'm not a fan of it!

This book doesn't have the almost detached quality that other Japanese detective stories I've read have. This book (after a slow start)is lively, it is dramatic, with a large cast of characters that I found easy to keep track of.

And most of these characters don't have any trouble speaking their mind.

"Detective you have to arrest her. You have to arrest her and put her to death. Not just the regular death penalty - that's not good enough for her. I want her to hang by her heels, rip her to shreds, burn her till she's black, and pull out her hair, strand by strand."

Um... it is fair to say that the Inugami family are not close.

But they are vivid.

I was finding the book a real page turner. I thought I had guessed the murderer - and in part I had - but I still wanted to find out exact methods.

This book was a 4★ read until the end. Most drawn out and in the end boring ending since I read Dinner at Antoine's Common fault in twentieth century detective stories I believe this book was originally serialised in a magazine, so Yokomizo was probably trying to make sure that the readers hadn't forgotten important plot points.

Profile Image for nastya .
448 reviews287 followers
July 16, 2022
I got tired of the two door stoppers I was reading and craved something quick, fun and plotty. And this whodunnit delivered!

Imagine a Japanese Knives out: eccentric wealthy head of the family and his family who hates each other but wants his money. He has a very strange will and then his heirs start dying out. And one of his grandchildren returned from war with a disfigured face and now wears a creepy lifelike mask version of his own face. Or is he really who he says he is?

A very quick and lively mystery, coincidences galore. And yes, there are 3 other translated into English private inspector Kosuke Kindaichi mysteries and I will be trying at least one other.
Profile Image for Xavier Hugonet.
177 reviews19 followers
March 1, 2020
The Inugami Curse (1951), by Yokomizo Seishi (1902-1981), is the tenth story featuring detective Kosuke Kindaichi, and the second one to be published in English by Pushkin Press. It has been translated by Yamasaki Yumiko.

It’s considered a classic of Japanese detective literature.

As should be obvious to anyone who read my review of The Honjin Murders, the first Kosuke Kindaichi novel, and the first Pushkin Press translation, I’m a lover of Japanese detective manga and anime. Reading this book, I couldn’t help to have in mind Aoyama Gosho’s Metantei Conan (Detective Conan / Case Closed in the US). Yokomizo Seishi’s influence on Aoyama Gosho is unmistakable. If The Honjin Murders was a classic closed room murder mystery, The Inugami Curse is another fixture of that contemporary series: serial mysterious murders in a remote mansion.

Sahei Inugami, head of a textile empire, dies from old age. His family, daughters of illegitimate mistresses, their husbands, children, for whom he only had disdain, and Tamayo, an orphan he adopted and raised as a daughter, are waiting for the return of one of the cousins from the war for the reading of the will.

Meanwhile, an employee of the lawyer trusted with said will contacts Kosuke Kindaichi, as he thinks a blood bath is in the making. This man is promptly killed. Then, his prediction comes true as, once the convoluted will is read, it appears Sahei Inugami wrote it purely to incite hate and violence among his kin. It doesn’t take long for a second body to drop, and the local police, with the help of Kosuke Kindaichi, race against time to try and stop the curse unleashed on the Inugami family by its deceased patriarch.

The book is still narrated by the author after the fact, and some dreadful hints often let us expect the next bloody event, adding to the tension. The author also now and then provides the reader with family trees, and summaries of clues and events, to help following along.

The mystery is complex. The family heirlooms, keys to inheriting the whole Inugami empire, are at the center of it. Clues abound and, all along the book, it seems solving the mystery is in our reach, but we can’t manage to put all the puzzle pieces quite in place. Nor does Kindaichi, at first anyway...

Kosuke Kindaichi is equal to himself. By now, he has acquired quite a reputation, and the police gladly accepts his help, and the mannerisms coming with the character. Indeed, disheveled, easily excited when provided with a new clue, happily scratching his head when deep in thought, and exhilarated when he begins to understand how the events unfolded, Kosuke Kindaichi is quite a peculiar detective. His enthusiasm carries to the reader. The final deductive logic storm is a delight to witness.

I sure hope the publisher intends to pursue their work translating more of this series.

Review of book one : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Thanks to Pushkin Press and Edelweiss for the ARC provided in exchange for this unbiased review.
Profile Image for Faith.
1,900 reviews534 followers
June 8, 2020
Sahei Inugami had a rags to riches story and ultimately became the Silk King of Japan. He also had a very messy personal life with three simultaneous mistresses, three unloved daughters, three equally unloved grandsons and a beloved ward. Upon his death at the end of World War II he left a will designed to cause maximum chaos. “...his death set in motion the blood-soaked series of events that later befell the Inugami clan.”

This is the second book I have read by this author. There are many books in this series and the author is very popular in Japan. Most of the books do not appear to have been translated into English (or at least they are currently unavailable). That’s a shame because I found these mysteries very enjoyable and I am fond of the young private detective Kosuke Kindaichi. He’s shabbily dressed and stuttering with a mop of unruly hair that he messes with when he zeroes in on a new clue. He’s inscrutable with a “remarkable facility for reasoning and deduction.” The author helped me write my review when he referred to “the extremely convoluted case of the Inugami clan”. This book was very Agatha Christie-like, including having late revelations of previously secret relationships. If you like old, classic mysteries you should try this series.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Profile Image for Caro the Helmet Lady.
773 reviews350 followers
October 29, 2020
Ha, this was probably even better than the first one. Well, sort of better. OK, no, they were equally good as detective stories, as troubled family stories, as unexpected twist stories and if this was a TV series it would be very HBO-ish one. Btw there are movies based on this story and I even found one on youtube and can't wait to watch it. Again, so many cultural layers, so much hidden and not so much hidden passion, love, hate and agression and if you think Japanese are all into their zen and ikebanas and peacefulness and harmony you are so so wrong. Yes, it's a fictional story but it's not that fictional.
Going to read everything I'll be able to find by Yokomizo-san.
Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,639 reviews2,152 followers
August 5, 2020
I read THE HONJIN MURDERS last month and gave myself a few weeks before coming to THE INUGAMI CLAN, the second of Seishi Yokomizo's books to be newly translated into English. I enjoyed myself even more this time, and I hope these are successful so we get even more Yokomizo translated.

This was written in 1950 and sometimes it is quite obvious. It's set in 1945 and has the feel of an older mystery, in many ways you could compare it to Agatha Christie with its complexity, formality, and eccentric detective. But it can also be quite gruesome, perhaps not compared to today's mystery novels, but certainly compared to the usually bloodless deaths of Christie and others from the early 20th century.

Once again I enjoyed how intricately all the elements of the story were bound together. I enjoyed the way the omniscient narrator will tell you when a clue is important or when someone is about to die. I even enjoyed how the detective made an itemized list of everything that happened at one point, so you could all consider it together.

This time I figured out one of the big reveals early. Like about as soon as it happened quite early in the book. It was not such a tough one for a mystery reader. (Literally said to myself aloud, "But then who could it be--oh right!") It gave me a little more insight as the book unfolded, but not all that much. I was still surprised by the solution. I like being surprised by the solution, I like knowing just enough to have some hunches but still finding that it was more complex than I could pick through.

There also wasn't as much "of its time"-ness as I expected from the book. A gay relationship is a plot point, involving a character who is clearly bisexual, and while everyone is shocked by it and acknowledges that it couldn't have been known publicly without shame, no one takes any time to be horrified or disgusted. It just is what it is. A female character's beauty is referred to almost constantly. A man with a cognitive disability is treated pretty much the same as everyone else. Romantic relationships between cousins are treated as the norm. The only thing that irked me was how a man's face, deformed by a war injury, was described with such disgust. So all things considered, it was surprisingly unaffected by the kinds of antiquated viewpoints that can impact reading an older genre book. I wonder if that was intentional in choosing which book to translate.

I think I liked this one more than THE HONJIN MURDERS, as it wasn't quite so devoted to the single idea of the locked room mystery, which was fun but does require something so elaborate it can be hard to believe.
Profile Image for Nancy Oakes.
1,938 reviews748 followers
January 5, 2020
high 4s

updated: We watched the 1976 (the original ) version of this film last night, and with only a few changes here and there, it was pretty true to the book. It was also creepy, as I would have expected. I think I'll pass on the 2006 remake, since this one was so good.

full post here:

I've long believed that Japanese crime novels (especially the older ones) are sort of in a class unto themselves and in truth take some getting used to, but as someone who's been reading them forever, this is a good one.

The death of family patriarch and businessman Sahei Inugami results in an unexpected will that, as the back-cover blurb reveals, pits the members of that family "against each other in a desperate contest for his fortune," and begins a series of some rather nasty deaths. But this is not just another murder mystery, not even close.

My issues with this novel were not so much with plot (which I thought was very nicely concocted), but with Yokomizo's penchant for leaning toward the melodramatic and downright cheesy in his word choice/writing style, and then there are his descriptions of certain characters that became repetitive over time to the point where they tended to grate on my inner ear. All the same, I had great fun with this novel and ended up liking it very much, despite the fact that it was not too difficult to figure out the who behind it all. While that's an issue with me most of the time, it bothered me less with this book because it's not just the identity of villain that matters, since there is so much more going on here that completely sucked me into the mysteries at hand. Parts of the plot are seriously demented and even horrific, making it much darker than many Japanese mystery novels I've read, taking it out of the realm of Agatha Christie (where so many readers have placed it) and into much darker territory, where as a mystery reader I feel most at home.

I would certainly recommend The Inugami Clan , most especially to readers who have some familiarity with older Japanese crime novels.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,974 reviews1,984 followers
December 1, 2022
The Publisher Says: A fiendish classic murder mystery, from one of Japan’s greatest crime writers.

In 1940s Japan, the wealthy head of the Inugami Clan dies, and his family eagerly await the reading of the will. But no sooner are its strange details revealed than a series of bizarre, gruesome murders begins. Detective Kindaichi must unravel the clan's terrible secrets of forbidden liaisons, monstrous cruelty, and hidden identities to find the murderer, and lift the curse wreaking its bloody revenge on the Inugamis.

The Inugami Curse is a fiendish, intricately plotted classic mystery from a giant of Japanese crime writing, starring the legendary detective Kosuke Kindaichi.


My Review
: Ex post facto narration isn't a trope for me to consume in rapid succession without psychic consequences, it seems.

When elderly Sahei Inugami finally has the grace to die already, he leaves behind the most viciously hateful will I can even conceive of. Much like the way Kindaichi gets into the family ugliness in Death on Gokumon Island via a request from someone who's dead now, the Inugami family lawyer calls on him to referee at the reading of this horrible will. Of course he dies on page three or thereabouts for his temerity.

What follows is a twisting, terribly sad recounting of the endless resonances of privilege in a family's life. Privilege won, in a society like Japan's pre-war was, counted for little...it was at best a grudging thing and this warped Inugami's experience of the prosperous life he wrested from an ill-willed social milieu. The man's surname means "dog god" and, since he was without a family, he had no way to know if it was something they'd have reason to take pride in or simply some long-vanished imaginative spark's cruel jest at him, an orphan.

The Inugamis of the next generations are warped by the curse of wealth, of deference given but grudged, and their lives made purposeless by their patriarch's iron control. His life ended far too late for the family not to be cruelly torqued into self-aggrandizing defensive arrogance. The children of the old man's mistresses, since their disadvantages were somehow socially sanctioned by being obvious, weren't entirely guilty...of more than usual awfulness, anyway.

What made this into a delightful set-up for a killing spree, also made it less than perfect: the presence of a gay couple whose dirty deeds made them unclean and unacceptable...period-appropriate and not exactly unknown as an attitude in present-day Japanese society. What bothered me the most, frankly, was the awful way a seriously disfigured war veteran was treated, described, dealt with; it all made his actions feel more like a man clawing back some dignity...too late and in the wrong way.

Translator Yumiko Yamazaki made some odd-sounding choices for my ears, e.g. choosing to switch between using the proper word kōtō and the oddly off-kilter transliteration "zither"...while the instruments are related they are not identical...despite making quite a palaver about defining a kōtō as a zither, she goes on to use both in the text. If there was some pattern to when and why the different words were used, I couldn't discern it. This played into a kind of story fatigue, an unforgiving hardening of my narrative-transporting arteries.

All in all, though, this survivor from Author Yokomizo's early publications presents a lovely and involving puzzle to solve, with several ancillary riddles on the edges of the main puzzle that were very interesting in themselves. I won't say it's perfect but I will say I've greatly enjoyed more time in Kindaichi-san's company.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,609 followers
May 18, 2020
Entertaining and quite warped detective novel set in post-war Japan with a vile family fighting over an inheritance, and one of them setting out to murder the rest. It's a very well constructed mystery in a completely implausible way (it's always a bit of a bad sign when the detective is remarking "well, that was a bizarre series of coincidences) but, you know, murder mystery, go with it. Reasonable translation for the most part; NB there's a rather homophobic thread within the plot.
Profile Image for David.
671 reviews337 followers
January 31, 2022
First published in Japan in 1951, it gets a ton of leeway in my reading. It's akin to the badly dubbed, Sunday afternoon, kung-fu movies of my youth that I absolutely loved in all their over-the-top, cheesy glory. The book can be a tad extra - I mean there's just so much nervous sweating going on! Every other chapter is the literary equivalent of the dramatic hamster meme turning his head in wide-eyed wonder accompanied by a musical sting. The author never tires of reminding us how beautiful young Tamayo is and even as the story resolved I admit I'm still not exactly sure what Sahei had in mind with his will. But it doesn't matter! It was a distracting and fun romp.

You have the incredibly wealthy Silk King of Japan, Sahei Inugami, who has died. Detective Kosuke Kindaichi has been called to the reading of the will which will surely will be an "event soaked in blood" according to on of the estate's lawyers Toyoichiro Wakabayashi ...who is immediately discovered dead from poison. Dun, dun, duuuuunn.

It's yet another intriguing case for Kosuke Kindaichi who has been featured in over 75 novels and feels like a progenitor to Columbo with his disheveled attire, wild hair, which he is prone to nervously scratching, while stuttering from excitement. And the plot is very Knives Out as the extended family descend like vultures vying for the family wealth. The body count mounts and we are left to wonder who will be the last one standing? It's got that old school, Agatha Christie classic mystery vibe but at the same time it just goes for it. What's not to like?
Profile Image for Mobyskine.
938 reviews130 followers
July 10, 2021
Bit noir to me but was so thoroughly written. The idea was absolute grotesque and intense-- resentment, threat and revenge-- I love the mystery of that yokikotokiku and how each murders resembled to each meaning of the heirlooms. Really like Kindaichi's character, as much as all the Inugamis having secretive and dark personalities, Kindaichi to me was more suspicious, mysterious and so hard-boiled. Such a great teamwork with Tachibana and Furudate!

The cliffhanger was intriguing, a straightforward crime packed with heartbreaking truth, enthralling red herrings and twisted narrative of whodunnit. Love the glimpse of classic Japanese culture and family tradition (was curious on how pretty is Tamayo as the plot keeps highlighting that part), and the real motive although it was expected somehow I love how each incidents coincidentally interwoven-- on both Shizuma and Kiyo (I actually like Kiyo-- he seems trustable but fate just ain't that fortunate for him), Matsuko's plan (if only she could wait a bit), and poor Wakabayashi to be the first victim to get poisoned from smoking a ciggie.

A cunning yet gripping mystery, need to get myself another Kindaichi next time. 4.5 stars to this!
Profile Image for George.
2,313 reviews
February 25, 2022
A compelling, original crime fiction novel with lots of gruesome murders, many detestable and oddball characters, and plenty of plot twists. It’s the 1940s in Japan and the wealthy head of the Inugami clan, Sahei Inugami, leaves a complicated will that provides a number of characters with the incentive to murder. Sahei, an orphan helped in life by a priest and his family, never married. However he had three daughters by three different women. To his household he added Tamayo, his benefactor’s grand daughter.

A satisfying reading experience. It is worthwhile writing down the list of characters as you read. The plot becomes quite complicated. There are some beautifully written, descriptive sentences. A book worth rereading.

This book was first published in Japan in 1951.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,222 reviews35 followers
August 11, 2020
I'm sad to say this was really not my kind of thing. As a longtime fan of Japanese literature - classical and contemporary - I requested a copy after seeing favourable early reviews, but I found it to be too pulpy for my liking. In hindsight this is not all that surprising considering that this was serialised when it came out in the the 1950s. If you're curious about post-war Japanese novels maybe give this a go, but it isn't one which will linger long in my mind.

Thank you Netgalley and Pushkin Press for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Armand.
184 reviews29 followers
March 12, 2020
There's a dark, menacing aura of rage and tragic inevitability in this whodunit that sets this book apart from the mundane familial dysfunctions that I've encountered in a lot of novels. It is not all that surprising though as the stakes here are much higher, with the monstrous wealth, influence, and prestige of the Inugami premiership on the line. Therefore it is just fitting that this fetid swamp will harbor a ruthless monster that shall in time impose its will on the benighted family, fulfilling the curse that hangs over its head. And what a magnificent creature it is! I guess it's true - under malign duress the pure alloy of the gentlest, most selfless love can be honed into a weapon of malice and murder.

My only concern is that a lot of the significant events here stem from coincidences, which in mystery novels is a big no-no for me. Also, our dear detective and his colleagues often have exaggerated expressions. I don't think Poirot will ever croak and jump like a frog (using Yokomizo's own metaphor) when he sees the severed head of a victim toppling down a grisly mise-en-scene. I guess I'm a bit partial to unflappable sleuths like Holmes, Wolfe, etc but maybe I'll get used to Kindaichi's quirks when I get to read more of him. I do hope that Pushkin Vertigo will continue to release more of his cases - with 70+ mysteries there's bound to be a handful that's truly exceptional.

This is one memorably atmospheric book that is a must-read if you're a mystery fan. I am rating this 8/10 or 4 stars out of 5.
Profile Image for Athirah Idrus.
245 reviews6 followers
March 9, 2021
What an annoying book! It's been a long time since I felt both hatred and admiration for a book. While the writing and plot were beautifully done, I swear you couldn't find more detestable characters even if you tried. The premise of the story is simple - the head of the Inugami household, Sahei Inugami, a wealthy businessman left his huge inheritance to his family. However, he conditioned it in such a way that was not straightforward, and the more you get to know what Sahei was like, the more you'd be convinced of his wayward thinking. He was just cruel, period. Unfortunately, when you have such an evil character, especially if he breeds offsprings, even if he dies, the suffering he causes his family does not end with his death. I feel like I can imagine him laughing in the grave for the curse that befell his family. Such a horrible man, who created a horrible family. However, the case was such a good one that it merited 5 stars from me. Ugh. Consider yourself warned.
Profile Image for David.
638 reviews121 followers
April 3, 2018
Disappointing. It was about as bad as your average Agatha Christie ... why's everyone sitting around waiting to be murdered?

The translation was a little weird. We identify koto as "zithers" but then it's important that we identify zithers as "koto" ... and we just use both. And there was a chapter where everyone kept being on a "berm". I mean, what's a berm?
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,942 reviews200 followers
July 4, 2022
I have a split record with Seishi Yokomizo. His books are closer to noir than cozies. I adored The Honjin Murders, but my next Yokomizo novel, The Village of Eight Graves, was terrible. So I went into The Inugami Curse with trepidation.

The novel was the triumph of hope over experience. Disheveled, stuttering genius detective Kosuke Kindaichi investigates an incredibly convoluted crime involving the Inugami clan: three spiteful, greedy half-sisters who despise each other and are jockeying to ensure that their families get the lion’s share of their late father’s wealth and businesses. That it leads to murder isn’t a spoiler: The first victim dies in Chapter 3. Yokomizo packs this mystery with plenty of suspense and twists, but to tell you any more would ruin the book. I’ll just say that I alternately glommed onto one suspect after the other, but I never guessed the culprit. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,769 reviews1,770 followers
August 2, 2022
These books continue to be really good mysteries, but I don't think I'll ever be able to give one five stars because they're so dated. Homophobia in this one in particular is a big issue.

Fun fact: Apparently the image on the cover of this edition is fairly pervasive in Japanese culture, the way that Marilyn Monroe standing above the subway grate in her white dress is for Americans. This Seishi Yokomizo guy was KIND OF a big deal. (This book is I think his most famous? Like the Japanese version of And Then There Were None in terms of notoriety.)

This book was just as fun of a listen for me as the first book I read from this series, The Honjin Murders. It continues to be pretty meta, with the narrator regularly directly foreshadowing events to come and commenting on how the behaviors of the characters affected future outcomes in a vague, mysterious way. The plot here centers around the death of the wealthy Inugami clan, and the strange will he left behind for his extensive family, the contents of which prompt some grizzly murders.

Since this is a Honkaku mystery, all the clues are there for you to put together, sometimes hidden in plain sight. But did I put them together? Of course not. Do you know me at all.

Kosuke Kindaichi continues to be a fun main character to follow. His head-scratching thing is a bit of a weird tic for a writer to give a character, but it seems to work and doesn't annoy me, so I guess it doesn't really matter. He's clever and unorthodox in his methods (which is ironic because "honkaku" literally means orthodox, I guess because these puzzle mysteries are meant to be solvable).

I'm actually finally writing this review now because I'm about to start the third translated book in this series in a couple of days and I realized I still hadn't put my thoughts down for this one.
January 13, 2022
Death.The constant, cold companion, forever dogging us at our heels, waiting for the right time to take us away.

Death. The dark carapace of fear that lingers in the darkest crevices of our minds.

Death. A permanent condition that can be inflicted on you or by you.

Death, or deaths that makes this book what it is.

A gritty, gruesome, easy to visualize, hard to forget, spine chilling, skin-crawling mystery that will shock you to the core.

It all begins with the death of a wealthy village head and the reading of his will.

A cursed will, that ignites a fuse to an inheritance battle that leads to a chain of horrific deaths that leave the family and the village in a state of shock.

Our detective, Kosuke Kindaichi ( a shabby, Japanese Hercule Poirot, with alarming habits) sets his leg forward to try and solve this mystery before the family destroys itself.

This is by no means a difficult mystery. It is quite easy to solve if you are able to make the right connections at the right time.

The story does not stream off into plenty of tributaries of red herrings like mystery books often do but presents all its elements on a silver platter.

It is just a matter of time and rearranging the clues until it makes sense.

The solution was indeed quite brilliant but as reveals go, it is not the most surprising.

But what does make it surprising is the audacity of the crimes, the patterns that follow them and the secrets that lay bare details about the family.

The book by itself is like spilled hot blood on white icy snow. An eerily gruesome yet beautiful portrait of crimson red on a stark white background.

Readers who find the grit and gore nauseating, are suggested to approach this with caution but to the other mystery lovers, this is one book you would not want to miss!

Special credits to the translator, Yumiko Yamakazi for making this book as close to the original!

If you've got time to spare and an uncontrollable urge to solve something, this might just be the book for you!

Profile Image for Lauren.
846 reviews929 followers
November 17, 2021
I really did enjoy my time reading another murder mystery by Seishi Yokomizo and I will definitely be picking up the third book to be translated in this huge Japanese series next month but you really have to appreciate and take into consideration when these books were written (and the period in which these stories are set (1940s/50s). They are very Christie-esque and I think that’s why I enjoy them so much!

This tale is particularly macabre and disturbing and focuses on relatives from the same family being murdered in grisly ways…all thanks to the will left by Sahei Inugami, the head of the house. What people will do for money, eh?

There are plenty of tense scenes throughout and a lot of guessing by various characters as to who the culprit is/culprits are (?) but I did guess quite a lot of the reveals so there weren’t too many surprising moments. Plus the personalities of some of these characters - talk about frigid! Brrrr!

I think Yokomizo does a wonderful job in capturing the fraught and hostile atmosphere which exists amongst the members of the Inugami clan, and even though sections of it can be laughable or just plain ridiculous, they are very entertaining and immersive reads :)
Profile Image for Stephanie Jane.
Author 4 books231 followers
September 27, 2020
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Having not previously heard of Seishi Yokomizo, I relied on my faith in the quality of work published by Pushkin Vertigo when choosing to download a review copy of The Inugami Curse from NetGalley and I am glad to say that I wasn't at all disappointed! The character of independent sleuth Kosuke Kindaichi was great fun to read about and made a refreshing change from the norm. He's not a divorced alcoholic, but does have suitably quirky personal habits a traits that make him come across as less of a threat to the criminally inclined than he really is.

Kindaichi has his work cut out to unravel the convoluted trail of murders surrounding the Inugami family as its members start to be picked off one after the other and I imagine Yokomizo must have spent hours painstakingly plotting this novel in order to keep everything plausible. There is a surprisingly large cast of characters so I was pleased at how easily I managed to differentiate between them all. Yokomizo doesn't go in for deep portraits, but can deftly sketch individuals so they are each memorable. Admittedly there are a few moments when The Inugami Curse hasn't aged so well - women are valued almost entirely by their physical appearance, for example, and at one point Kindaichi is critical of a young woman whose (emotional) 'strength made her unfeminine'. As readers we are privy to a couple of ignorantly homophobic thoughts from him too.

Yokomizo describes the natural world and changing seasons around Nasu in a way that adds great atmosphere to the story. Storms flare up or snow falls at just the right time to accentuate scenes, but without seeming overly played. There's perhaps too much foreshadowing, particularly in the first third of the story, but the narrative keeps up a great pace throughout, especially for such a complicated mystery. I appreciated the brief recaps which gave me a moment to draw breath alongside Kindaichi, before plunging back in! I think The Inugami Curse would strongly appeal to fans of authors such as Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh or George Bellairs. The novel is excellent classic crime fiction with a tangible Japanese flavour.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,389 reviews51 followers
June 1, 2020
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I had not heard of Seishi Yokomizo before, although he is a famous Japanese mystery writer. The Inugami Curse had all the features you have come to expect from mystery novels from that particular era.

There is a rich but strange family, the patriarch recently deceased. Upon reading of the will, family members start dropping like flies and many secrets are uncovered. Into this, the main character, a somewhat strange private detective is thrown. The real mystery, he has been hired before the first crime took place. He does the thing at the end were everyone is called together and everything is discussed, which has always seemed a very strange and illogical thing to do.

Set in post-war Japan, I thought it was an interesting read. A nice change of setting from the typical British mystery. While I had guessed most of it by the end of the novel before the big reveal, there still were some thing that had me guessing. The writing was a bit odd, and contained a lot of repetition but I do not know how much of this is due to the translation.

Interesting read.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Tim Orfanos.
345 reviews36 followers
June 5, 2022
Ιδιαίτερα ατμοσφαιρικό και με πολύ ενδιαφέροντες χαρακτήρες, αλλά η διαλεύκανση του μυστηρίου, ελαφρώς, θα διχάσει το αναγνωστικό κοινό.

Βαθμολογία: 3,7/5 ή 7,4/10.

Θα γίνει και εκτενής κριτική.
Profile Image for Woraphol Thawornwaranon.
82 reviews27 followers
January 8, 2021
กลับมาอ่านซีรีส์ในดวงใจสมัยเด็ก (จริงๆ อยากดูหนังของคุณคงแต่หาดูไม่ได้) ทั้งที่ก็รู้กลอุบายต่างๆ อยู่แล้ว แต่อ่านซ้ำมันก็ยังสนุกเหมือนเดิมเลย

จริงๆ ชอบงานซีรีส์นี้ของคุณเซชิมากเพราะมันคาบๆ อยู่กับการเป็นเรื่องสยองขวัญ ผีสางตำนานพื้นบ้าน บรรยากาศในเรื่องมันเลยมีความหลอนๆ เวียร์ดๆ ต่างไปจากงานสืบสวนตะวันตกที่เคยอ่าน การตายถูกทำให้ดูแปลกพิสดาร (เช่นการปักหัวในทะเลสาบหิมะ ขาชี้ฟ้า) อ่านแล้วบางทีก็รู้สึกครีปปี้อยู่ใต้ผิวหนัง แต่ถึงอย่างนั้นมันก็ยังติดตรงความสามารถในการบรรยายของคุณเซชิมันสามัญธรรมดามากไปหน่อย มันเต็มไปด้วยการใช้คำซ้ำๆ ซากๆ และการสร้างบรรยากาศก็ออกจะขอไปทีในบางที ทั้งที่มันน่าจะลี้ลับชวนสะพรึงได้มากกว่านี้

อีกเรื่องที่มาสังเกตจากการอ่านซ้ำคืองานมันสะท้อนภาพชีวิตของคนญี่ปุ่นหลังสงครามแฮะ เราได้เห็นคนเดินทางไปตาย เห็นครอบครัวพลัดพราก มีการใช้ชื่อปลอมเพราะความอับอายจากการไปรบแพ้กลับมา เป็นเพราะการอ่านซ้ำในวัยที่โตขึ้นนั่นแหละ สมัยเด็กๆ ไม่เ��ยเห็นอะไรแบบนี้หรอก
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