Murder in the Crooked House

Murder in the Crooked House
斜め屋敷の犯罪
,

, Book # 2
Pushkin Vertigo
January 1st, 1982
ebook from Netgalley
352
Japanese
Louise Heal Kawai
February 28, 2019 March 4, 2019

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 - a disorienting maze of sloping floors and strangely situated staircases, full of bloodcurdling masks and uncanny, lifesize dolls. When a man is found dead in one of the mansion's rooms, murdered in seemingly impossible circumstances, the police are called. But they are unable to solve the puzzle, and powerless to protect the party of house guests as more bizarre deaths follow.

Enter Kiyoshi Mitarai, the renowned sleuth, famous for unmasking the culprit behind the notorious Umezawa family massacre. Surely if anyone can crack these cryptic murders he will. But you have all the clues too - can you solve the mystery of the murders in The Crooked House first?

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About the book

I would like to thank NetGalley and the author for my ARC in exchange for an honest review. I chose this book because I didn’t know the author and set in Japan. Obviously I read it in English.

There is a house on the island of Hokkaido, it is big, 4 floors, 16 rooms and a tower that resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The house is crooked and the staircases strangely placed. The owner, an eccentric Japanese millionaire, Mr Kozaburo Hamamoto, lives here with his daughter Eiko.

It is winter and his guests are invited during Christmas for a holiday in this crooked house. Kozaburo invites his guests to solve a riddle. But on the first night, one of the guests is killed. Who did it?

I like the fact that the story looks like a Cluedo game, even if I’ve never played it I know more or less how it works. A house full of possible killers to investigate and the policeman on duty Saburo Ushikoshi who suspects everyone.

The various characters are very different from each other. At the beginning I said “it is that person who will be killed” and in fact I was right, the fact that the author doesn’t present that character and the person is always on the sidelines were giant clues. I have to say that I do not like all the characters, I do not like Eiko and her attitude of “I’m just so good” and Eikichi Kikuoka and his “you have to a bully to be considered”, especially in this period his attitude is really annoying.

The second murder was a surprise but not the third one because I was expecting it even if at the beginning I felt sorry for this third person, but not in the end (and you’ll understand why if you read the book).

I liked the book, because it has an interesting case and as I said because it seems like a Cluedo game, but I don’t like Kiyoshi Mitarai the main character. He should be the protagonist since the series is dedicated to him, but he is only at the end, in two seconds he arrives with a somewhat irritating attitude and solves the case. Also I don’t like the chapters in the library, too long and too “word-vomit”; how many times should the policemen say they do not know what to think about the case?

It has been a different reading from what I’m used, it isn’t that I didn’t like it, the beginning and the end are really “what the hell is going on, I want to continue reading”, it’s the middle of the book that leaves you a little bit disappointed.

I thought about buying the first book in the series, it was already in the cart when I got to the middle of the book that disappointed me a bit so I don’t think I’ll buy it (pity because the case of the first book seems interesting).

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