I left my reading till late and almost didn’t make it, but I did read the first two chapters of story 5, and I’m pretty sure I do remember most of the details despite being half asleep towards the end.
Glad to be back to high stakes crimes like missing 海参. Looks like a language miscommunication kind of trick is being set up here. The various people refusing to call the narrator by his real name is hilarious. As a learner though, I’m finding the abundance of kanji that don’t mean anything in Japanese very confusing, as it’s hard to know if I’m supposed to understand them or not. As for the mystery itself, so far I’d be inclined to say that the bird did it, if it weren’t for the missing pot
I finished the fifth story. Well played, 似鳥さん, well played. I suppose I should have been paying more attention instead of fitting small reading sessions in between other tasks. I’m a little upset with myself that I missed this one specifically.
I guess the Japanese tend to gloss over long strings of katakana as much as I do? I didn’t bother to properly read the long names even after it was explained they were important. The cockroach/double clock alibi trick felt way too far-fetched and elaborate for the crime, but I’m somewhat ashamed that I never paid proper attention to who was who and was content with assigning hasty nationality tags. Thank you for making me feel a little racist, I guess. That never would have happened in real life though, so I should probably not blame myself too much. Like the first story in the book, the solution would have been way more obvious if we could see what the characters saw instead of just having it described in a tricky way. But that’s what the book is about after all.
I always assign traits to characters to keep them apart… and if nationality is the only thing that is given, then that’s what I go with… otherwise it might be “the black haired guy”, “the dude in the leather jacket”, etc.
The only idea I came up with was that it was the Japanese who was taking part in drug trials [or did I misunderstand that part?] and it might be a weird side effect that he does stuff and doesn’t remember - sleep walking or something… (which in fact is a known sideeffect for some medications)
at some point, I felt the G was important but I could just not come up with an idea HOW
I am almost done with the next story (with the HEADHUNTER, just in case I am getting the numbering wrong) and I am so annoyed… BIG SPOILER for this story!!!
After all the other stories, I really should have seen this coming. I kept thinking in the other stories, that it’s weird how 別紙 seems different from story to story… but that we are dealing with 5 different besshi’s… yeah… did not cross my mind even once… even though that is literally the trick for almost all the other stories…
I started the last story, but it’s going slowly. I’ve only read the first two chapters so far. I’m not sure if it’s the story itself or me. Still, I’m not behind by much, so I’m sure I can catch up with my schedule in a day or two.
Okay, I’m all caught up with my schedule, read up to the end of chapter 4. The stories are always a little harder to get into at first, then when the mystery proper begins they’re a breeze.
Preliminary thoughts: I feel the writer is playing coy with the narrator’s identity, who in my mind has been 羽海ちゃん from the first story all along. Will her identity have something to do with this story’s mystery? 別紙 is also being extra mysterious here, having information from a source he doesn’t reveal, and disappearing to check on public toilets when he should be watching the cameras. Something’s not right. And of course there’s this Motion thing that’s been mentioned and forgotten. As a solution to the main mystery, I’d be inclined to think that the perpetrator for each prank is different (in this case possibly 千葉さん), and the whole thing is coordinated by the Motion guy, as yet another unique kind of demonstration. Now why it’s personal to 別紙’s hotshot client, why it affects Japan’s future, and what 別紙 is up to, I have no idea (yet?)
by now I have finished the book. It was an interesting experience and I am glad I read it for this BC, I would not have picked it up myself. It’s not a new favourite or anything, but it was an interesting take on the mystery genre.
Don’t listen to it. There’s only three of us reading the book, so your posting ratio looks just right to me. What’s wrong with posting a lot, anyway?
Meanwhile, I read tomorrow’s chapter (5) too. So I have two more chapters left, and then the あとがき for the next 4 days.
It looks like someone arranged the wiring so that the west entrance feed goes to both monitors, and the east entrance feed to none. Now 別紙 was last seen with a spare cable that was apparently not needed. Why would he do that? As a test to his apprentice? Surely not?
It was interesting. The weirdest story yet, imo. But it was also nice to go through the “hints” again and see how the hints are actually hints and would have helped solve the stories. At least in hindsight. I think, one of the reasons I could never guess anything is, that I simply ignore names. I can never remember the reading, so I just kinda skip over them. Which, if the name is the trick, makes it difficult to even notice.
Now that we are basically done, you can add your impressions as well. Or did you write a review? I did not check.
You have some facepalming ahead of you. Looking forward to what you’ll have to say.
Haha I thought I wrote a review but apparently not! I liked the originality of the book and of some of the mysteries’ premises. I felt that the first, third and sixth stories were probably the strongest. The slightly absurd elements in the stories were enjoyable but I found some of the logic used a bit questionable at times, it just seemed like too far a leap for the reader to follow. One challenge I found, which might not have affected more experienced readers, was that the language was sometimes a bit unclear for me to follow. I think my comfort level is about 29-32 so this was a bit of a stretch for me, especially with inherent narrative trickery, but the short story format helped me power through
The author even said in the beginning that there was one person who featured in every story. … Not two. If the narrator is always the same (and the consistent tone suggested it was) no one else could be. Oh mannnn.
That’s a long afterword. I suppose with this kind of writing there’s a lot to say before and after.
It was an interesting experience for sure! I’ve never read anything like this before. The writing was solid, if nothing special aside from the trickery, which was well executed imo. Or maybe I’m just easily hoodwinked. Good suggestion @omk3!
It’s probably easier to catch the hints if you’re steeped in the correct culture, but I wonder if it would make a big difference.
Finished the penultimate chapter. And I have only one word:
Seriously? (yes, times five)
I had found it strange that 別紙 was sometimes さん, sometimes ドクター, sometimes 所長, but wasn’t sure what to make of it. And the various manias, well, they might all be the same person, mightn’t they? Oh well. I’m officially majorly tricked. On the other hand, I’m not sure if 羽美ちゃん was supposed to be a big surprise or not. I was sure it was always her from the very beginning (although I wasn’t sure about the international apartment building case). I even wondered why the foreword said about one person being in all stories (if I remember correctly) when it was evidently two. The joke’s on me.
Now for the case itself, I suppose the giant kokeshi was tampered with by the 別紙s themselves (in a non-destructive way) and made public as much as possible, in order to lure out the real Headhunter. Why he would be certain to come though is beyond me. I’m still missing stuff, obviously.
Finished the last story. Some things I had deduced (although a bit too late), and some I hadn’t, of course. And some I had gotten all wrong. So the cameras weren’t rewired to show the same picture, the narrator saw the same people go in the one exit and come out the other, which was expected behaviour, only they took too long. And of course she knew who these people were and we didn’t because no one ever told us. Sneaky.
All in all, I enjoyed the book. It was good fun, and I enjoyed being kept on my toes. Some of the tricks I did manage to catch, others I felt were a little unfair, as there was too much information withheld from the reader. Still, being open about trying to trick the reader and still managing it is quite a feat, so I can say I’m impressed. The writing was solid too. I was expecting straight puzzles in plain language, but instead there were fleshed-out characters and interesting turns of phrase throughout.
I’m curious what the あとがき will be about. Are there more surprises in store?