🕵️‍♀️ 推理小説読書会 📚 Mystery Novel Book Club 👮‍♂️ Reading シャドウ

:open_book: In progress club’s home thread :arrow_left:

:books: Nomination List - Click here! :bookmark:

Hi! I thought it might be fun to try to start a book club. I’m taking inspiration from the book clubs on WaniKani’s forums but tweaking the format just it a bit. We can always iterate and improve :slight_smile:

I personally am a big fan of mystery and crime novels and would like to read some with you all. I know the forums here are still small, but even one or two people to read along with would be fun :hugs:

Below has been edited from the original post to the current state of the club so as to avoid confusion

How this book club is run:


  • People nominate books using the template below
  • We can have up to 20 nominations
  • We accept book levels 25 and up to be nominated and have no upper level limit.
  • Novels, light novels and short story collections welcome to be nominated

Voting and timelines:

  • Voting takes place one week after the last club closes and runs for a week. There is a 2 week gap between the poll closing and the new club starting to give people who want physical copies time to purchase and receive them.
  • A new thread for each week of the book club will be made to separate out spoilers and discussion into manageable chunks
  • Books will be read at a pace of around 30-60 pages a week, with higher page counts in the latter weeks assuming the book’s sections are able to be cut that way.
  • Any books that receive no votes at the end of a cycle are cut. Please allow 2 cycles to pass before renominating if you wish to do so.
  • We will always cut down to 17 to allow for 3 new nominations per cycle, if we do not have enough no-vote books, it will go in order of lowest voted.

Discussion ground rules

  • Spoilers behind spoiler tags
  • Always mention where you are in the book when discussing, ideally by chapter so people reading different versions have a clear point of reference.
  • Feel free to read ahead if it’s exciting! But please refrain from spoiling ahead of the appropriate week :slight_smile:
  • If you have a question about grammar, vocab, cultural things, etc - ask! That can be part of the discussion too and I’m sure some folks would be happy to help.

Template for nominations

**Book**: Put a Natively link here!
**Is there an ebook available?**: yes or no (buying options are visible on the Natively book page)
[details="Summary if one not available on Natively page"]
you can copy/paste this from wherever you'd like. Please have it in a drop down like shown.
Content warnings if known:
You can't be expected to know all the content of a book you haven't read yet, but if you know it deals with specific heavy topics, or the author is known for doing so, please include it here. Please spoiler tag anything if you know it's a spoiler for plot developments

**Why are you nominating this book:** This section is also optional, but it's nice to know why someone else is interested in reading a book, and might sway others to vote for it!

Simply copy and paste the above text (not quote) into a reply to nominate!

Previous Clubs

Removed Nominations

Books with no votes get the :hocho: ! They can be renominated, but please allow at least 2 voting cycles before doing so.


Book: 黒い森の記憶 | L30??
Is there an ebook available?: Yes

Summary - Japanese


Summary - English

At the end of a deep black forest, a man who has been shot in the leg rolls into a cabin where an old man, once called a great doctor, lives alone. The man is wanted as a suspect in a series of assaults and murders of young girls that have caused a sensation in the world. The old man, who is supposed to be so misanthropic that he doesn’t even meet his deliveryman, for some reason decides to hide the man. At the same time, the old man receives a series of eerie packages from an unknown sender. …

Content warnings if known

Presumably there is reference to sexual assault of young girls in this book due to 少女暴行 being mentioned, but this author typically isn’t very graphic.

Why are you nominating this book: I really like this author and find his writing style easy to read. Most of his books are fast paced and exiting.


Ooh our first natively book club! A mystery novel might be a bit too far above my level atm, but depending on what we read I’d still like to give it a try!


This sounds great :mag_right:

I just need to finish off some LN, but happy to try any recommendations next month.

I recently added 殺人のライセンス to my wish list. It’s only level 25 (estimate) so that might be a good “easy” mystery/thriller.

Oh lol, you already started reading that!


Ha, yes, I am reading 殺人ライセンス, and I submitted it at 25 because when I started I evaluated it as being easier than スマホを落としただけなのに | L29 although now that I’m halfway done I’d say they’re about the same level, maybe with 殺人ライセンス still being a shade easier.

I’m tempted to try nominating just another book by the same author, but the only other book of theirs on the platform, マル暴総監 | L34 , is graded much higher so they probably are pretty variable.

The second book in the スマホ series, スマホを落としただけなのに 囚われの殺人鬼 | L29 , is an entirely unrelated story with the same premise of ‘bad things happen because you dropped your phone’, so I suppose if people don’t mind things slightly out of order I could nominate that one :thinking:

Doing some googling for mysteries more likely to fall in the 20s, I see はやみねかおる is typically graded that way, the 科学探偵 series, which you’ve read the first volume of is also a contender as I don’t think it needs to be read in order. Actually a giant list of elementary/middle school age mystery books here. 今夜は眠れない by 宮部みゆき looks appealing as I like that author, but no digital edition which is a bummer.


This looks interesting :eyes: If this starts next month I will probably participate.

Do you know カラスの親指 by rule of CROW’s thumb | L34 ? It says level 38 but from what I read from the first few pages I don’t think it’s that high. I’m interested since it ranked pretty high in Amazon’s “Best Sellers in Mystery, Thriller & Suspense” and few booktubers recommend this book as a mystery novel.

I also don’t mind if we end up with 黒い森の記憶, as long as the writing is straightforward and not too flowery I will read it.



I’m not familiar with it at all, but another book by the same author is on my wishlist. I skimmed a few pages of the preview and agree it’s not a level 38 unless the writing style changes midway through or start tossing in tons of obscure vocab.
Would you like to formally nominate it or shall I? :smiley:

I definitely want to have a vote once we have a couple nominations - I’ll read pretty much whatever (so long as no animal cruelty). I will say 赤川次郎 is not a flowery writer. If I had to describe him writing style as anything it’d be ‘pulpy’ :sweat_smile:


Awesome! Never really tried the concept of reading with a book club before. Definitely joining you guys once this starts!


I’m not sure I want to nominate that after knowing it’s 520 pages, probably too long for a book club :sweat_smile: I will propose グラスホッパー instead since it’s also on my wishlist and it’s only ~300 pages.


Book: グラスホッパー | L35
Is there an ebook available?: Yes

Summary - Japanese


Summary - English

“Revenge has been stolen. Is this a lie?” Suzuki, a former teacher, witnesses the moment a man who killed his wife is hit by a car. It seems to be the work of an assassin called “Oshiya”. Suzuki follows him to find out who he really is.

Meanwhile, “Whale”, an assassin who specializes in suicide, and “Cicada”, a genius with a knife, also begin to pursue “Oshiya”. Each of them has its own agenda.

When the thoughts of Suzuki, Whale, and Cicada intersect, the story begins to roar.

Content warnings if known


Why are you nominating this book: It’s the first book of the 殺し屋 series and seems to be quite popular in the mystery genre. Only ~300 pages and based on what I read from the first few pages, the writing is quite straightforward so hopefully even a “beginner” can follow along just fine.


Ooh! Natively’s first bookclub! I’m definitely interested in participating as well! Gotta look through my own wishlist and see what would fit here.

How should manga be handled? Wanikani typically only does one volume, but if the reading level of those here skews higher, we could get away with reading more.


I actually have no idea how to handle manga in a book club because it tends to be several volumes and more expensive so I left it off :sweat_smile: I can read a single manga volume in an afternoon but they’re pricey! :scream:


I’m very interested in this book club! Thanks for organizing, @cat!

I went through my list to see which books I might nominate, but it’s so easy to get lost in this sea of options… I might selfishly nominate 木洩れ日に泳ぐ魚 by Riku Onda (not on Natively yet), which was recently translated as “Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight”, just because I was going to read it anyway, but book clubs are all about discovering new things, right?

I remember two books I had read in translation many years ago and loved them at the time. One was Out by Natsuo Kirino (OUT 上 | L35), the other was In the Miso Soup (イン ザ・ミソスープ) by Ryu Murakami. Sadly, none of these seem to be out in ebook form, or I’d very gladly reread them in Japanese.

I found two other Natsuo Kirino books that might be worth checking out. 柔らかな頬 上 | L30??, which was awarded the Naoki Prize, and 顔に降りかかる雨, which was awarded the Edogawa Rampo prize. Not sure about her writing style in Japanese, I’ll have to check a sample first. But 柔らかな頬 consists of two volumes, the first of which is 359 pages, and 顔に降りかかる雨, is 496 long, so both probably a little too long for a book club?

Anyway, I’ll keep looking, and I’m looking forward to more of everyone’s nominations. I hope we get a lot until the voting date!


Ahhh yes! You have such good taste in mystery novels! I’m excited! :smiley:
I submitted a handful yesterday to be added to the site so I could nominate them, and need to check my paperback 積読 pile to see if any have ebook versions as well.

I’ve been wanting to read Natuso Kirino for awhile now too.

I’m not sure about page limit, but perhaps 400 for now? Once things inch past that I do worry it would intimidate people, but I’m happy to hear opinions!


Book: 聖母|L31
Is there an ebook available?: yes

Summary - Japanese


Summary - English

The body of a kindergartener was found in Aide, Tokyo. The victim had been sexually assaulted after her death. When housewife Honami sees the news of the incident, she fears that her precious only daughter may also be targeted. The police continue their investigation, but the perpetrator is never caught. What action does the mother take to protect her daughter? An astonishing full-length suspense mystery.
Translated with DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator (free version)

Content warnings if known

Judging from the summary, sexual assault and murder of young children.

I didn’t know anything about this book until a few hours ago, and normally the religious title and cover would put me off, but I read various reviews that all talked about such a mindblowing twist that they had to question their understanding of what they had read till then, so that sounded intriguing. And I’m always up for discovering new authors.


Book: 柔らかな頬 上 | L30??
Is there an ebook available?: yes

Summary - Japanese

友人家族の北海道の別荘に招かれ、夫、子供と共に出かけたカスミ。5歳の娘・有香が忽然と姿を消す。実は、 石山とカスミと不倫の関係であり。カスミと石山は家族の目を盗み、逢引きを重ねていたのだ。夫と子供を捨てても構わないと決心したその朝、娘は消えた。有香が消えた原因はもしや自分にあるのか? 罪悪感に苦しむカスミは一人、娘を探し続けるが、何の手がかりも無いまま月日が過ぎ、事件は風化してゆく。しかし4年後、元刑事の内海が再捜査を申し出る。カスミは一人娘の行方を追い求め事件現場の北海道へと飛ぶ。

Summary - English

Constituting the north of the Japanese archipelago, Hokkaido is an inhospitable region of harsh mountains and gray sea. At eighteen, Kasumi got on a bus and fled the family home to try her luck in Tokyo, never to see her parents again. After fifteen years of absence, she returns for a few days to her native region, at the invitation of a couple of friends, the Ishiyamas, accompanied by her husband and her two daughters. But one fine morning, five-year-old Yuka disappears without a trace. All searches will be in vain. Did the little girl run away, like her mother years earlier? Was she the victim of an accident or a heinous crime? But which of the relatives or neighbors could have committed such an act? Kasumi is racked with guilt because this stay was actually just a pretext to see Yohei Ishiyama, the couple’s friend, who is also her lover. Then begins for Kasumi a slow drift, a desperate investigation in search of her missing daughter, during which she will receive the unexpected help of Utsumi, a former police inspector suffering from stomach cancer. These two characters, as if torn from life by their respective tragedy, will sink like ghosts into the foggy mornings of Hokkaido…
from Amazon.fr

Content warnings if known

Not known, but Kirino does tend to get dark and doesn’t shy away from gore or violence.

I was blown away when I read Out in translation, many years ago. I’ve read other books by Kirino since, always in translation, and they were good, but Out continued to stand out. This book has won the prestigious Naoki prize, and some reviewers group it with Out among her best books. I’m very interested to finally read this author in her native language. However, note that the book comes in two volumes. Volume 1 is a manageable 358 pages, but then there’s a whole other volume after it…


Just a note, the title didn’t seem to be displaying correctly here.

What a thing to be convicted of.


Thanks for the heads-up. It showed up fine on the preview. And I can’t for the life of me make it display correctly. What am I doing wrong?

Huh. The joys of automatic translation… :joy:


Book: 十角館の殺人 | L34
Is there an ebook available?: yes

Summary - Japanese


Summary - English

Ayatsuji reinvigorates the classical English mysteries of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Ellery Queen, and John Dickson Carr by stripping them down to their essentials and examining their moving parts. In this novel, six members of the Kyoto University Mystery Club—each taking the alias of a famous mystery writer—assemble on an abandoned island and take up residence in a decagonally shaped house. Naturally, soon enough the students begin to be killed off, and the race is on to discover the murderer’s identity. Meanwhile, back on the mainland, two members of the club who chose not to go receive mysterious letters that lead them to believe that something is afoot on the island. Along with an enthusiastic partner, they set about trying to solve another mystery from years past, which has connections to the island. Ayatsuji leaves no doubts about his intentions, making copious references to Christie’s And Then There Were None, and even the characters are well aware that they have stumbled into a work of their favorite type of fiction. The metafictional trappings are good fun, but they wouldn’t mean much if the mystery itself wasn’t equally fun and tricky. And it is.

Content warnings if known

None that I know of.

This book keeps coming up whenever I search for Japanese mystery recommendations. It’s very much an Agatha Christie-style mystery. Not my style generally, but it might be fun to read something less gritty for a change.


Sorry if this was too many nominations from the same person :sweat_smile:. If so, feel free to ignore. It’s just that I got too excited about the club and starting looking for possible books to nominate, which led to an endless rabbit hole that I’m still not out of… I’m stopping with the nominations now though! (At least until the Riku Onda book gets added to Natively…maybe).