🕵️‍♀️ 推理小説読書会 📚 Mystery Novel Book Club 👮‍♂️ Reading medium 霊媒探偵城塚翡翠

I just saw a review for 体育館の殺人 and now I want to add my vote to that too, but can’t change it XD


If you click “show vote” it should let you adjust your voting choices, but the behavior is unintuitive


Ah ha! Thank you very much!!!


Poll is closed - and we have results!
The win goes to 体育館の殺人!

As a reminder, October 31st is when the first reading thread opens to give people time to get copies of the book and also to decide on a reading cadence. On that note, I took a look at the table of contents and this book will be a bit tricky to split up. I will outline that in the home thread.

Home thread!


Hello! I was invited by @omk3 from the WaniKani forums! I posted my introduction over there, but I’d still like to introduce myself here as well, and explain my relationship with the mystery genre! In addition to the below, I blog (poorly) about mystery stories over at Solving the Mystery of Murder. I like to think I’m fairly knowledgeable about classical English-language mystery novels from the early 20th century and (although less-so) their Japanese-language counterparts, but I also recognize I have a lot of gaps in my reading a lot to learn! I hope I can be a good and positive addition to the Mystery Novel Book Club!

While I grew up enjoying anime, manga, and Japanese video games, I never actually had an interest in studying Japanese. It wasn’t until I was about sixteen that I started to want to learn the language, when I discovered my life’s greatest passion: Golden Age mystery novels! Golden Age mysteries are a sub-genre as well as a movement in the history of detective fiction that marked a focus on mystery novels as “puzzles” or “games of wit played between author and reader”, in which the author gives the reader all of the information they need to solve, not guess, with 100% certainty the mystery, not only naming whodunit, but also how and why. However, while the genre of “fairplay”, “puzzle plot” mystery fiction died in the English-speaking world in the 1940s, the genre has continued to enjoyed popularity in Japan as 本格 and 新本格 (lit. “Orthodox” and “New Orthodox”) mystery fiction!

Because so few of these (shin-)honkaku detective stories are translated into English, I’m studying Japanese to further pursue my passion of reading Japanese detective stories. I also love to write my own mystery stories, and one day I would love to be able to write detective fiction in the Japanese language!


Hi again, HeartfeltDesu! I’m glad you could join us.

As I mentioned over at the WK community, we just finished reading 十角館の殺人. It’s a book that’s basically a love song to classical mystery novels. Students who belong to a mystery club and are even nicknamed after classic mystery authors (Ellery, Leroux, Orzcy, Agatha, etc) , spend a week on a secluded island, and much like in And Then There Were None, they’re starting to be killed off one by one. Inspired by this book most of us also read And Then There Were None, and had in mind to also read books by the other authors referenced. @eefara wrote some info on them, starting from here.

Our next book, 体育館の殺人, starts on Oct 31st, and it’s supposed to be a relatively easy read. Again, not sure if you’re at a level to read with us yet, but if you want to give it a try you can always look at a sample on Bookwalker or Amazon.

And since you have such an interest in mystery books, you’re very welcome to nominate books for future reading here. We’re always on the lookout for new recommendations!


Yes, I’ve read The Decagon House Murders in English, as it was translated by Ho-Ling who is something of a friend of mine! I love the plot of Decagon, though I personally contest whether it’s “fairplay”, since as I recall from a few years back the novel openly acknowledges that the provided information could incriminate any of the suspects until the necessary information is revealed at the end of the story, with not enough information present to discredit alternate theories (per the book’s own admission, I remind you). Ayatsuji himself acknowledges the difference between Decagon and future novels, calling the former more of a test and the later more proper puzzles. However, it’s a minor smudge on what’s otherwise a pretty well-contrived murder plot, though, and Ayatsuji himself seemed aware of this and worked on this in his future novels.

As it happens, with the help of a friend I also read its immediate sequel, 水車館の殺人, which I think I much prefer, not only as a puzzle, but also on a basic plot level! It’s not very tricky, and I think most readers probably can figure it out, but it’s that neat balance between being solvable without feeling trivial, and the solutions are great!

I’ll see if I can read 体育館の殺人! It seems like a lot of fun!


This is absolutely true, I found. I had driven myself crazy trying to work it out, but in the end I had to use my instinct more than my logic. Still it was good fun.
Interesting that his next books are more proper puzzles.

Not all the books we’ll be reading will be orthodox puzzle mysteries, but from the little I’ve read about our next one it probably does fall into that category.


According to Ho-Ling’s blog, the author is another of those disciples of Ellery Queen, like 法月林太郎、有栖川有栖、and 大山誠一郎! He concludes that the locked-room solution is technical and disappointingly simple, but the reasoning/logic is an excellent adaptation of the Queenian method of reasoning with smart clues and deductions! I can’t believe you all have brought the fourth Queen Disciple to my attention, I thought I’d rounded them all up already! This sounds great!


Golden Age best age :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I grew up reading authors like Doyle and Christie along with old children’s classics like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and of course plenty of modern mysteries aimed at children like The Cat Who series.

I ended up falling back in love with the genre when I read an Edogawa Ranpo book by pure chance.

Welcome welcome! Happy sleuthing!


Welcome, @HeartfeltDesu! Glad to have you here with us!

Gah, I’m still missing a few authors. @.@ Carr and Agatha. Although does anyone really need me to do a write-up on Agatha Christie…?

Very cool! How did you come to know Ho-Ling?

Is 水車館の殺人 a true sequel? I don’t know much about the books in the series, sadly.

Dang, I haven’t thought about those books in forever. :open_mouth: It’s eye-opening to hear them called children’s books; I felt very proud and grown-up when I was reading those in middle school. XD


I’m not sure if they’re actually meant for children, but my parents had no issue with me checking them out endlessly from the library :sweat_smile: I think it’s similar to how when doing the informal book club for 三毛猫ホームズの推理 someone mentioned a Japanese person saying they read it in middle school (…was that person me? I vaguely remember talking to a woman about that book series… :upside_down_face: ) Despite the plot including a prostitution ring and abortion

The moral of the story is that if you don’t want kids reading your books, don’t put cats on the cover.


Might have been me? I had once made a thread asking for mystery recommendations and this person told me about the book and how they loved it in secondary school. The cover is quite misleading too.

I’ve never read them, I’m afraid, but now I’m curious. Would they be appropriate for an 11-year old who loves cats and mysteries? I may know someone :eyes:


Ah yes, it might have been you! I talk about books with so many people and read book reviews on top of it so after awhile details like that get blurred :sweat_smile:

I read it at around that age, I don’t recall it being graphic. There’s questionably legal read alouds of several of the books on YouTube if you want to quickly scope out the content.


It’s been so long since I read them; I don’t remember being horribly scarred by anything, at least. My mom, a middle school teacher at the time, was also reading them, and probably would’ve stopped me if there were anything inappropriate in them.


We’re not super close, but since we both blog about Japanese mysteries (to varying degrees) we talk sometimes on each other’s blogs and I sometimes ask him for some notes or recommendations on Twitter! I’m probably the only mystery blog in existence (or in our own little circle) besides his own that has covered video games like Ace Attorney and Danganronpa, the only mystery blog besides his own to cover Japanese mystery drama like Furuhata Ninzaburou and アリバイ崩し承ります, and one of the only mystery blogs aside from Ho-Ling’s and another friend of ours to cover manga like Detective Conan, and Kindaichi Case Files, so I imagine it was just our mutual appreciation for inter-media mystery fiction. We also met in the Ace Attorney Discord server, where we talked about The Great Ace Attorney 2’s habit of flagrant plagiarism. He put me on his blog roll, and there are very few blogs on there so honestly I’m honored!

While Christie is the only one of those who are the Golden Age (Doyle is pre-Golden Age and not puzzle-oriented, and Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys are post-Golden Age), they’re all good mysteries! Agatha Christie always holds up, so I’m glad you fell back in love with the genre!


Guilty pleasure watching :see_no_evil: That and 警視庁・捜査一課長 are my go-tos for formulaic crime shows.

I mean this says it all...


If you watch many JP dramas I’m sure brandon (creator of this site) would like your input on perceived difficulty. The next major feature for Natively is audio/visual difficulty media ranking.

Oh sorry, should have been more clear. Didn’t mean to say they were all golden age, just that it’s my favorite as well. Was sharing my own scattered introduction to mystery.


No, I’m sorry. Pointing that out made me feel like an absolute know-it-all. It was unnecessary and I felt bad immediately. :confounded: It’s a very good way to get introduced to mystery, that’s for sure!

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It’s all good. I try to take things with positive intent if all is otherwise pointing that way :smiley:

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I’m afraid the dramas were all watched with subtitles (embarrassing, I know!), but I do watch a lot of them and can try and go back and watch them with no subtitles, but I wouldn’t be a lot of help in gauging difficulty!

Here are the dramas I have on my Plex server right now! I wish there were more original honkaku mystery dramas that weren’t adaptations of popular story series, but I’ll take what I can get for the time being… There are a few others I intend to add at some point.