The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group discussion

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

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message 1: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
spoil away.


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13981 comments Welcome to the spoiler thread for The Tokyo Zodiac Murders! Whether questions along the way or comments on the whole book, you're in the right place.


message 3: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments Good luch, Carol; I guess I should have tried to order this book. It does sound good.


message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13981 comments Skye wrote: "Good luch, Carol; I guess I should have tried to order this book. It does sound good."

I hope you decide to order it and join us, Skye!


message 5: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments I order from B and N's marketplace; sometimes it's hard to know when it will come.


message 6: by Michael (new)

Michael Whelan (author_whelan) | 2 comments I came across this one a decade ago. By the time I first thought it was a Graysmith's novel rip-off and, thankfully, I was wrong. strongly recommended.


message 7: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
Bruno wrote: "I came across this one a decade ago. By the time I first thought it was a Graysmith's novel rip-off and, thankfully, I was wrong. strongly recommended."

That would have been bad. Just sayin'.


message 8: by Skye (new)

Skye | 2105 comments This one really sounds good, but there are no market place books; it's full price.


message 9: by Connie (new)

Connie (connier) | 37 comments I did pay full price for this one and I wished that I hadn't. I didn't find this book to be all that good. Very tedious for me to read. I like to be able to pronounce names and places as I read and this book is filled with places and names that I had no idea how to pronounce. The details about longitude and latitude were very tedious for me and in the end did we really need these? Perhaps if you knew something about the Zodiac this would have made more sense. This book just did not flow for me.


message 10: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13981 comments @Connie - I hope your next read is a better fit for you.

Learning to pronounce the names and places, and learning about longitude and latitude - topics about which I know zilch - is probably 50% of my joy with this and other translated mystery/detective novels. I used to find myself reading Lisa Gardner, James Lee Burke, Harlan Coben, Alafair Burke and get to the end feeling like I'd learned nothing and finally figured out that I could find books I loved in my favorite genre but that didn't leave me with that empty feeling.

I think of this as the reader's version of Po-ta-to, po-tah-to. We can have very different experiences and still understand each other's responses.


message 11: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
"I used to find myself reading Lisa Gardner, James Lee Burke, Harlan Coben, Alafair Burke and get to the end feeling like I'd learned nothing"

not to mention that at some point (in my opinion), you realize you're reading the same book over and over again but with different titles by different authors. Only the names change.

I'm at the point now after having been reading crime/mystery fiction forever that I like challenges -- and books like Shimada's give me what I want. They won't be for everyone.


Peter (on semi hiatus and trying to catch up) (peterdonnelly) | 334 comments Did anyone stop at the author's note when all the clues were in and try to solve the mystery?


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

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
Peter wrote: "Did anyone stop at the author's note when all the clues were in and try to solve the mystery?"

I did, but it was totally useless. My brain just doesn't work like Shimada's so I didn't guess. Let me tell you also that I read this book a few years back & had totally forgotten what happens there, so I was just as blown away as I was the first time.

That stopping to allow readers to guess -- how Ellery Queen can you get? :)


Peter (on semi hiatus and trying to catch up) (peterdonnelly) | 334 comments Nancy wrote: "Peter wrote: "Did anyone stop at the author's note when all the clues were in and try to solve the mystery?"

I did, but it was totally useless. My brain just doesn't work like Shimada's so I didn'..."


Nancy, me too. I just couldn't guess and read straight through. I must admit the murder scheme was a new one on me.


message 15: by Corey (new)

Corey | 2 comments I also had a hard time guessing when the author took a pause. For me it was the fact that it could have been any of the dozen or so people mentioned/murdered and at that point I just wanted some facts instead of racking my brain for clues. The tape was a good clue though, I figured it had something to do with that.

I am not a huge fan of astrology so I skimmed through some of the explanations of signs/meanings in the opening letter. Luckily that didn’t mean I missed too much since ultimately none of that information would have helped solve it. I enjoyed the Sherlock and Watson dynamic going on and as a whole was pleased with the story and writing style. Nice to choice on both May group reads. Glad I had previously read Six Four or else I would have been reading well into June!


message 16: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
I think that one of the cool things about this book is that it is completely filled with red herrings so you're kept guessing all of the way through. I don't remember a book with so much misdirection going on!


message 17: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 104 comments Carol wrote: "@Connie - I hope your next read is a better fit for you.

Learning to pronounce the names and places, and learning about longitude and latitude - topics about which I know zilch - is probably 50% o..."


Carol, I agree with you. I have read a lot of foreign author crime/mystery lately and, although there are some bumps, I have loved the challenges and differences they present :)


message 18: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 44 comments I loved this book, and the twist at the end completely blew me away! I'm not sure it would have been possible to guess the ending without knowing about the money trick, because the book explicitly states that

(I'm gonna spoiler tag this anyway.)

(view spoiler)

I hope that more books by Shimada will be available in English translation soon!


message 19: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
In the meantime, there are other books from that same school of crime writing -- here are two:

The Decagon House Murders
Death in the House of Rain

I know nothing about them but I'll be reading them over the summer.


message 20: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 44 comments Nancy wrote: "In the meantime, there are other books from that same school of crime writing -- here are two:

The Decagon House Murders
Death in the House of Rain

I know nothing ..."


The Decagon House Murders is excellent. It's a Japanese take on Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Yukito Ayatsuji went on to write a whole series of 'House' books (unfortunately, none are available in English at this time). Decagon House contains a lengthy introduction by Soji Shimada (who, of course, is the author of The Tokyo Zodiac Murders.

I haven't read Death in the House of Rain yet; all I really know about it is that it is a Taiwanese locked room mystery. It's been on my Amazon wishlist for a while now.

I am looking forward to reading your impressions on these stories, Nancy.


message 21: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
I'm looking forward to reading them!


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 1216 comments Taeko Sudo’s plan was amazing! She was incredibly intelligent, particularly her math skills. Gotta admire that.


message 23: by Linda (new)

Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1510 comments I just started.


message 24: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
Well, then, you may not want to be looking through this thread!


message 25: by Suki (new)

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 44 comments Nancy wrote: "I'm looking forward to reading them!"

Nancy, just a side note you may find interesting, since we were talking about The Decagon House Murders: they are published by Locked Room Mysteries International. There are a lot of very intetesting- sounding titles published under their imprint.


message 26: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
Suki wrote: "Nancy wrote: "I'm looking forward to reading them!"

Nancy, just a side note you may find interesting, since we were talking about The Decagon House Murders: they are published by L..."


Thanks! I just bought Death in the Dark, by Stacey Bishop. I've already read (from that list) The Riddle of Monte Verita , which was okay.


message 27: by Suzy (last edited Jun 02, 2018 01:31PM) (new)

Suzy (goodreadscomsuzy_hillard) | 667 comments Ok, I'm a little late to the party on commenting on this book . . . because it took me practically the entire month to read it. It was a slog, but a totally worthwhile slog. Thanks for encouraging me to continue, Nancy.

Like others, I loved reading this for the introduction to another culture, another way of thinking, more info about Japan, etc. I am a fan of astrology, so that aspect entertained me including the part about longitude and latitude. I'm a fan of mysteries where the investigators are amateur sleuths, so this one was right up my alley. And that Kiyoshi was an astrologer added to the fun level. I loved that most of the book, aside from the "notes", was written as a conversation between the two main "detectives" - this was especially engaging to me.

I had a well-worn track to the page at the beginning with everyone's names and their role. When the author paused to ask us if we could guess the murderer, I laughed out loud!! I had a hard time holding all the facts, places and people in my mind, so at some point I just decided to flow along. When I finished the book, I had to go back and read a few chapters in the beginning (after the initial note) to tie a few things together. Altogether a great pick for a group read.


message 28: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 36531 comments Finally finished this morning. The note at the beginning and the letter at the end were real slogs for me. But in between was fascinating.

Is this his only book translated to English?


message 29: by Carol (last edited Jun 24, 2018 04:48PM) (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13981 comments Jan C wrote: "Finally finished this morning. The note at the beginning and the letter at the end were real slogs for me. But in between was fascinating.

Is this his only book translated to English?"


Yes, oddly. He has written 45 books, in two series, and he is highly successful in Japan. But only this one has been translated into English.


message 30: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 36531 comments Carol wrote: "Jan C wrote: "Finally finished this morning. The note at the beginning and the letter at the end were real slogs for me. But in between was fascinating.

Is this his only book translated to English..."


That's a shame. I liked it but I don't think he is worth learning to read Japanese.


message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13981 comments Jan C wrote: "Carol wrote: "Jan C wrote: "Finally finished this morning. The note at the beginning and the letter at the end were real slogs for me. But in between was fascinating.

Is this his only book transla..."


Maybe not, but there are a ton of great Japanese mystery writers whose works we miss out on due to the lack of availability in English; so if you have a talent for picking up new/additional languages, Japanese could expand your TBR in interest ways. :)


message 32: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 9469 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Jan C wrote: "Carol wrote: "Jan C wrote: "Finally finished this morning. The note at the beginning and the letter at the end were real slogs for me. But in between was fascinating.

Is this his onl..."


Chinese is much easier to learn than Japanese. Just sayin'


message 33: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 13981 comments Nancy wrote: "Carol wrote: "Jan C wrote: "Carol wrote: "Jan C wrote: "Finally finished this morning. The note at the beginning and the letter at the end were real slogs for me. But in between was fascinating.

I..."


But I’m not missing out on any mystery books I desperately want to read because I don’t read Chinese, Nancy! Lol


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