*** I read this short story as part of a collection, The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, that I picked up at a liActual Rating: 3.5 Stars
*** I read this short story as part of a collection, The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, that I picked up at a library sale months ago. I'm kind of glad that I remembered I had it, because I couldn't quite figure out what to read for the 'Genre: Horror' square--although, I'm not entirely sure The Murders in the Rue Morgue seems very horror-like, even though it is tagged as such on Goodreads.
I might read another couple Poe short stories from this volume to make up for it if this particular one doesn't really ring as horror. ***
As for the story itself...
I'm going to be honest, I totally didn't see that one coming.
I have to admit, this is my first actual reading of a story by Poe, though I have read some of his poems. Being that poems aren't really my thing, I'm ashamed to say that I never truly comprehended his work and kind of wrote him off as over-hyped, classical, high school required reading.
Truthfully, I found The Murders of the Rue Morgue extremely engaging. The beginning was a bit slow to build up, but once Dupin began his deductions and analysis of the murders, I couldn't stop reading. It was easy to follow where his deductions were heading, and when it "dinged" in my head, at the same time as it did for the unnamed narrator, I was, at first a bit taken aback... and then I didn't know what to think.
To be honest, the conclusion that Dupin comes to, as well as the final reveal, kind of requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. It was a little over the top.
This short detective story was quite the experience and a nice read for Halloween Bingo. I'd admit though, even though this book is tagged as horror, I don't know if it really feels like horror--though the murders were pretty gruesome. There was quite a bit of detail and I might of made a face at the description of Madame L'Espanaye's... mutilated body.
On a side note, Dupin kind of reminds me of Sherlock Holmes (what little I've read of the famous detective), both in demeanor and arrogance.
I'm not entirely sure I know what I want to say about this book.
The truth is that while it was easy to become completely immersed into our two main chI'm not entirely sure I know what I want to say about this book.
The truth is that while it was easy to become completely immersed into our two main characters' discussion and dissection of the Zodiac Murders that occurred forty years prior to the book's 1979 setting, I had also found I had a hard time keeping up with some of the deductions tossed out by our main astrological detective, Kiyoshi Mitarai. I honestly have to admit, I was confounded by all the clues--maybe I'm just not made out to be a detective.
I was as confused as the narrator, Kazumi Ishioka, and found myself truly wondering how Kiyoshi had come to certain conclusions.
I had a slight inkling of what kind of person might be the culprit behind the Zodiac Murders, but I was flummoxed by how the act could have been committed, as well as who exactly could have been the murderer.
Of course, when we get into the "Kiyoshi Reveals All" part of the conclusion, I can see how cleverly the entire thing was constructed. I didn't see it coming, but I see how it all worked.
I liked the build-up and introduction of the Zodiac Murders--the first half of the book consisted of Kazumi giving Kiyoshi the rundown of the case, what happened forty years ago, and some brief background on the victims and suspects. By all rights, this should have felt like a massive infodump, but with Kiyoshi's random interjections and color commentary, it was actually quite amusing to follow.
The second half of the book, wherein Kiyoshi finally gets serious and goes out to do some of his own investigating might have lost me a little bit, since I'm not entirely sure if a whole lot was accomplished aside from a nice visit to Kyoto. The visual of the cherry blossoms was lovely, and the mentions of some Japanese foods made my mouth water. I know... this is a book about a grotesque serial murder...
But I appreciated some of the random tangents, even if I thought that Kiyoshi might have gotten a bit overly dramatic at some points.
A couple other points that came to mind: ¤ The talk about longitude and latitude kind of lost me. But there was an obvious emphasis on the depths at which the girls were buried that got me thinking, even if I couldn't figure out the significance.
¤ The ending came off as kind of sad, in a heartbreaking way, when the culprit is revealed, and the reasons why, as well as a few other things that were mentioned. Explaining why I felt a pang of sadness, however, would reveal the identity of the culprit, and I hope I didn't already say too much.
Overall, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders was a very excellently outlined story. And while I DID find the cheek at Sherlock Holmes a bit amusing (I've only read a few Sherlock stories), I also kind of found Kiyoshi's snub at famous fictional detectives a bit overmuch--like, I couldn't figure out if he was sincerely ignorant of the mentioned names while making fun, or if he was just being arrogant and sarcastic.
The truth is, it was a bit hard to tell sometimes if Kiyoshi was being sarcastic or not, but he sure as heck DID come off arrogant, even when he had a few sheepish moments. I DID like the interaction between him and Kazumi, though; it somehow came off quite endearing.
Other Possible Squares: -- Murder Most Foul: For obvious reasons. -- Amateur Sleuth: Kiyoshi is an astrology professor (?) and Kazumi is an artist. -- Serial/spree killer (?): To be honest, the murders in this book seem more in line with a mass murder than serial killings, but the term serial killing had been used, so I'm not entirely sure about this one. -- Diverse Voices: And, of course, because this book was written by a Japanese author and set in Japan, translated into English for those of us who haven't yet learned how to fluently read kanji, hiragana, and katakana.