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Group Read Discussions > May 2018 Group Read: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, by Soji Shimada

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message 1: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (last edited Apr 28, 2018 05:00AM) (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
This is your space to discuss The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, by Soji Shimada. Carol will be the discussion leader.


If you would like a spoiler thread for this book, I'll be happy to provide one. Have fun and happy reading!


message 2: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 558 comments This book is fabulous and has that classic locked room murder mystery and the almost sly wit and humour of the golden age writers


message 3: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Zoe wrote: "This book is fabulous and has that classic locked room murder mystery and the almost sly wit and humour of the golden age writers"

I loved this book. Absolutely.


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments If you plan to participate in this read, please comment on whether you'd like a separate spoiler thread. If we don't have one, then our choices are to hide all spoilers for the entire month, which can make discussion challenging, or to use spoiler tags to hide spoilers until at least [May 15th][or pick a different date], then all bets are off.

Who's in? If you plan to join (this isn't a blood commitment), what's your preference on setting up a spoiler thread vs. not?


message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments PSA: I started Tokyo Zodiac last evening and recalled a friend of mine in the Japanese Lit group commenting on not being a fan of the beginning but being a fan of the novel overall. If, like me, you're not a fan of the style of the narrator in the Prologue, don't despair. Stick with it because the style/voice will change after the Prologue (say 30 pages, depending on your copy). Or so I've been assured.


message 6: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
I'll read it again with you. Rare, but rereads do happen.


message 7: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Carol wrote: "PSA: I started Tokyo Zodiac last evening and recalled a friend of mine in the Japanese Lit group commenting on not being a fan of the beginning but being a fan of the novel overall. If, like me, yo..."

Thanks for mentioning this! It took me two days of trying to read the prologue to get through it and I was wondering if I would like this book. But I'm a few pages into where it shifts to 1979 when there is rekindled interest in the 1936 crime. Much better!


message 8: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Carol wrote: "If you plan to participate in this read, please comment on whether you'd like a separate spoiler thread. If we don't have one, then our choices are to hide all spoilers for the entire month, which ..."

I, for one, like a "no spoiler" thread and a separate "spoilers allowed" thread rather than one thread with spoiler alerts. It seems to be a standard practice for this group which I appreciate. Is that correct, Nancy?


message 9: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Suzy wrote: "Carol wrote: "If you plan to participate in this read, please comment on whether you'd like a separate spoiler thread. If we don't have one, then our choices are to hide all spoilers for the entire..."

I'm very happy to create a spoiler thread, Suzy. Not a problem.


message 10: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
done


message 11: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Nancy wrote: "done"

Thanks!


message 12: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "I'll read it again with you. Rare, but rereads do happen."

Excellent!


message 13: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Found my book -- sure, I can juggle 3 books at once. No problem.

:)


message 14: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "Found my book -- sure, I can juggle 3 books at once. No problem.

:)"


Of course you can! Heck, if I were down to only 3, I'd pat myself on the back...


message 15: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
If it's a purely entertainment read, I can wedge a third one in -- otherwise, forget it. I have one day book and one night book and it works.


message 16: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "If it's a purely entertainment read, I can wedge a third one in -- otherwise, forget it. I have one day book and one night book and it works."

That would be why you're the adult in the room :)


message 17: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
I know SO many people who would completely disagree with that statement, but if you want to believe it, okay.

:)


message 18: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "I know SO many people who would completely disagree with that statement, but if you want to believe it, okay.

:)"


Shhhhhhhh.


message 19: by Connie (new)

Connie (connier) | 37 comments The prologue for me was tedious with a lot of facts that I didn't really care about. I am now 52 pages in and I can't say that I am really enjoying this at all.


message 20: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Re the prologue: it tells us quite a lot about the mental state of Heikichi Umezawa, and as is typical in a novel with a prologue, it's likely that most everything learned in that section has a purpose and will show up later in the novel. Plus I look at it in this way: it's written in sort of a flat, dry, style, but it makes the brutality that he describes so matter of factly even worse. Like this is all normal stuff that artists would do, and he definitely considers himself an artist.


message 21: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "Re the prologue: it tells us quite a lot about the mental state of Heikichi Umezawa, and as is typical in a novel with a prologue, it's likely that most everything learned in that section has a pur..."

True, that. I found the style challenging enough to skim the second half of the prologue so I could move on to the next part of the novel, but with full knowledge that I need to re-review it or take the consequence of missing a connection the author deliberately drew for me.


message 22: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
All the food in this book is making me want to cook Japanese. The mention of Okonomiyaki in Act 3 made me want some.


message 23: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time around.


message 24: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Nancy wrote: "Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time around."

I'm glad to see this as an incentive to keep at it! I'm still in Act 1 and it feels like a slog of details even though it's better than the prologue in terms of keeping me engaged. I also haven't read any passages about food, so that should up the interest!


message 25: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Suzy wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time around."

I'm glad to see this..."


It definitely is a slog of detail at first, since they're reviewing the murders. We are getting everything known from the case, especially from the book (within this book) called The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, along with all of the theories about the case from people who've tried to solve it.

This book represents a very different form of mystery writing:

http://honkaku.com/english.html


message 26: by Suzy (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 663 comments Nancy wrote: "Suzy wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time around."

I'm gla..."


Yes, that fact that it's a very different approach is what inspires me to keep going as well. A new experience, even if it takes more concentration!


message 27: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 36365 comments Carol wrote: "PSA: I started Tokyo Zodiac last evening and recalled a friend of mine in the Japanese Lit group commenting on not being a fan of the beginning but being a fan of the novel overall. If, like me, yo..."

Thanks for mentioning this. I just started and not too crazy about the beginning. But if it picks up I'll stick with it for a bit.


message 28: by Matt (new)

Matt | 4 comments Excellent read. Thank you for selecting. Totally surprised when time for the reveal. I appreciated how it read like an Ellery Queen mystery. Looking forward to the next read!


message 29: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Matt wrote: "Excellent read. Thank you for selecting. Totally surprised when time for the reveal. I appreciated how it read like an Ellery Queen mystery. Looking forward to the next read!"

It does have the ring of Ellery Queen to it, doesn't it? I was thinking more along the lines of Clayton Rawson, whose specialty was locked-room/impossible crime novels.


message 30: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "Matt wrote: "Excellent read. Thank you for selecting. Totally surprised when time for the reveal. I appreciated how it read like an Ellery Queen mystery. Looking forward to the next read!"

It does..."


Clayton Rawson is a new author to me. I reviewed his profile. Which of his novels is the best or your favorite?


message 31: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Matt wrote: "Excellent read. Thank you for selecting. Totally surprised when time for the reveal. I appreciated how it read like an Ellery Queen mystery. Looking forward to the next r..."

For sure The Headless Lady. I need to reread these (I have the whole series here somewhere) because it's been ages, but he is very good at setting up these completely impossible situations and giving his magician/detective free rein to solve the crimes. And like in Shimada's book, red herrings abound.


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13846 comments Nancy wrote: "Carol wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Matt wrote: "Excellent read. Thank you for selecting. Totally surprised when time for the reveal. I appreciated how it read like an Ellery Queen mystery. Looking forward..."

Excellent. Thanks!


message 33: by Matt (new)

Matt | 4 comments I'll check that out as well!


message 34: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Speaking of Clayton Rawson,

https://penzlerpublishers.com/?utm_so...


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 1213 comments I also thought aha Ellery Queen!


message 36: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 44 comments Nancy wrote: "Suzy wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time around."

I'm gla..."


Nancy wrote: "Suzy wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time around."

I'm gla..."


I've read (and loved!) most of the books mentioned in this link; the others are currently sitting in my TBR.


message 37: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
Suki wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Suzy wrote: "Nancy wrote: "Finished. It's been so long since I've read it that I had completely forgotten the big twist. I was just as blown away this time as I was the first time aro..."

Pre-ordered all, and now I just wait.


message 38: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "I also thought aha Ellery Queen!"

It's hard not to! Have you ever watched one of the old Ellery Queen tv shows? They actually stop and give you a moment to solve the mystery before going on.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 1213 comments The TV show is what got me interested in the mystery magazine of the same name of short mystery stories, too.

: )


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 1213 comments When I was still a high school kid, I discovered The Benson Murder Case starring Philo Vance as the expert ‘locked door’ detective. There is an entire series. Some of you may enjoy these too, but they truly are old style!


message 41: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9320 comments Mod
aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "When I was still a high school kid, I discovered The Benson Murder Case starring Philo Vance as the expert ‘locked door’ detective. There is an entire series. Some of you may enjoy t..."

And there's always John Dickson Carr for locked-room mysteries, if you have the patience.


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Books mentioned in this topic

The Headless Lady (other topics)
The Benson Murder Case (other topics)

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Clayton Rawson (other topics)