I will generally copy this information over thread to thread each week for ease of finding - you can always expect the schedule at the top of any weekly thread
Law and Order
Any reveals, for the current chapters must be behind spoilers or detail curtains. When we get further in you don’t need to hide details that were revealed in previous chapters.
Questions on vocab, grammar, nuance, and the like are both welcome and encouraged. If you’re not sure if it’s a spoiler, assume it is and use one of the above options to hide the text.
You are encouraged to speculate and guess wildly
Be kind about other peoples’ wild guesses
Even if you don’t read the chapter(s) in time, you are still encouraged to post in the thread for that reading once you have finished it. I advise not reading ahead in the threads as you may see spoilers.
To gauge participation - a poll!
Are you reading the finale?
Yes, I’m planning to read along/am reading along this week
I’m reading, but not at the same pace as the club
I had no intentions of reading the book, but I desire to click a poll
(also sorry I was late to put this up! Christmas celebrations threw me off)
I’ll crack this thread open and say I was happy to have guessed right, but was kind of ‘meh’ about the motive until the very last scene. I think the backstabby school politics redeemed the book a little bit for me, as up til then the majority of the characters felt so shallow. This, at least, was a bit of intrigue
Looking at the star ratings this book has a spread. Currently:
I wonder if Natively will ever let us sort books by controversial?
@brandon I suspect you’d hate that feature but it would be entertaining
So, I guessed completely wrong, and still doesn’t see how the logistics of the “escape” could have worked in real life without anyone noticing, which reduced my overall enjoyment of the book. I can’t really say I appreciated the attitude of what’s-his-name (天馬? I completely forgot).
Still, as my first audiobook, it felt fairly okay. I think I gave 3* in the end.
Isn’t it just a Gaussian distribution? “Controversial” sounds more like 5x1* and 5x5* with nothing in between
Oh sorry, bad lead in there (half of what I was thinking was left in my head and not written out…). It doesn’t look very controversial now no, but given how people talked about it here/on WK I expected more lower ratings, but given how highly rated it is on Japanese youtube, I expect high ratings as well. I’m very curious what our actually controversial books are (and if this one will become one once more ratings come in).
I remember giving a 1 (or maybe 2 edit: no, I went full nuclear) star rating on a trashy isekai light novel with your typical loser male protagonist still getting all the girls for whatever reason. The only other rating was a 5*, which might be how you feel about that kind of story if you are part of the target demographic?
More generally, I expect books that are strongly target toward a given group to get very mixed reviews if people from other demographics end up reading them. (… or not, since you would generally not read a book like that if you are not part of the target demographic? And I should stop buying books based on the booklive review alone)
I think getting your bearing in a new language may necessitate going through some books you wouldn’t touch in your native one. I certainly had a learning curve of what authors and genres I should stay away from in Japanese
Finished up the book a day or two ago; it ended up kind of falling into the ‘okay’ territory for me. I was one of those three star ratings, haha. I think my biggest issue with the book is that I never really came to like Tenma or identify with him; he just felt like a very stock character to me. Maybe it would’ve helped if I’d recognized the references he was tossing out?
I also think listening to the audiobook might have accidently harmed my impression of the book. While I was able to follow it relatively well throughout while reading, it moved much faster than I normally read, and I think that contributed to my brain not being ready to engage with the story on a deeper level. I definitely didn’t do nearly as much/any theorizing this time around compared to 十角館の殺人.
Finished last night. I agree the locked room mechanics are a bit questionable.
There’s room on the cart for what’s essentially an adult man, but not an umbrella? Getting onto the cart without detection also seems questionable. I feel moving/rustling the sheet on the front would still be noticeable in the back. I’d also think that getting into the cart would cause it to shift/tilt (you can see a car bounce up and down when someone gets in or out–imagine getting in/out of a much smaller and lighter cart! (That could also be b/c the car has suspension, so maybe this isn’t actually a valid point, idk)). They also make a big deal about how the culprit would have to go through the rain without a coat or umbrella but without getting wet, and the answer to that was… they just didn’t get wet? Like yeah it was a shorter distance than expected (although it didn’t seem that big to begin with), but that doesn’t seem like a particularly satisfying answer.
Masaki’s movements during the escape also seem kinda… omniscient? It works, but how did he know what and when to do what he did? How did he know when the coast was clear from Kajiwara and Sanjou to leave the bathroom? How did he know that the view would be blocked from the front before turning the corner? How did he know that they would pull the cart out and leave it there rather than just run to the southern entrance?
Part of the reason I liked Masaki as the culprit was for the story of #3 using #1 to take out #2, glad that that actually ended up being the case. (I thought it was weird when the video started. I was like “What, did Asajima just sit in that room in the dark every day until this happened?”) Although, hot take, I don’t think Yatsuhashi did anything wrong. She may have created a scenario where it was easy for Masaki to cheat, but Masaki is still the one who actually decided to cheat, and then he was the one who decided to kill Asajima. And even if you wanted to blame Yatsuhashi for “entrapment” with the cheating (which I don’t), I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to expect her to have foreseen that Masaki would kill Asajiima over it.
On the other hand, goading someone into committing a murder to prove to the world that they aren’t worthy of being student council president is probably my favorite implementation of the uber-powerful student council trope, since having the characters act like it’s high stakes and going to such extreme yet tragic means in what is really a mundane setting just highlights the absurdity (whereas having an uber-powerful student council in an outrageous setting it just leaning into the world).
This, for me, is a typical YA mystery. It’s not deep. The logic is questionable.
BUT, had this book been in English, I would have easily read it in a day. The fact that Japanese takes me so much longer, actually makes me enjoy certain books less. It’s the kind of book you read when you just want a bit of distraction - which Japanese doesn’t really give me yet. Need to git gud!
Sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with you on that characterization. Despite its faults, I definitely don’t see extensive Queensian logic chains in “typical YA mysteries.” I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and think that part (as well as the mileage it got out of a single umbrella) was definitely a strong showing.
I can see a “typical YA” vibe, but the plotting felt much more rigorous.
No need to be sorry. Everyone is allowed an opinion. I don’t have to change mine, though. My opinion remains that it was no better/worse than stuff like Inheritance games. It’s decent YA, but I would not recommend it to adult mystery readers.
(Whatever Queensian logic chains are… that term is not known to me. Tbf, google doesn’t know the term either. )
Queensian logic is the type of logic displayed in the book–using physical evidence to deduce actions the killer must have taken which in turn are used to deduce traits the culprit must possess, narrowing down the suspect pool until only possibility remains. It’s named after Ellery Queen, who pioneered and made famous this deduction style, most notably in his first nine books, known as the National Series (the reason behind which will be obvious if you look at their titles).
If you’ve read the blurbs about 体育館の殺人, you may have noticed that they describe Aosaki Yugo as the 平成のエラリー・クイーン… This is why lol. (Too bad they didn’t realize the Heisei period was about to end when they came up with that nickname.)
…I guess I’m just kind of curious what kind of mystery you consider deep or to have strong logic. While Queensian logic certainly has many avenues to attack (since it’s made up of lots of small steps, each of which can be questioned), it represents much more intricate plotting than pretty much all YA mysteries I’ve seen (and, I’ll even add, most modern Western mystery novel I’ve read), which tend to faff about doing nothing until the detective (i) finally investigates the right thing or asks the right question to get the smoking gun that conceivably could have been done from the start but just wasn’t or (ii) arbitrarily decides on the basis of circumstantial evidence that one of the suspects is the culprit, and when they go to confront the suspect the suspect immediately confesses to everything before trying but failing to kill the detective in a dramatic action-packed finale.
I’m not sure about typical YA novels, but this one was definitely targeted at a younger audience, or else very much failed to properly engage with an adult audience. The fact that it followed a rigid Queensian logic doesn’t make it deep, it makes it logical. (Crime in the real world is almost never logical in my opinion, but that’s a completely different discussion). It was fair to the reader in presenting all relevant facts, but it’s also true that everyone did more or less nothing until the detective finally investigated the right thing. The police were next to useless, the reader had nothing much to go on until the last evidence was given, and the characters were all…not characters at all. Apart from the detective, who was a crude caricature himself, the rest were more or less interchangeable, a list of names, cardboard figures, characters in name only. That’s not a deep mystery, that’s a puzzle, and it took way too long to develop.
I don’t really know. When I read the conlcusion to this mystery, I was just very underwhelmed. I felt it relied on too much “people not noticing” and the characters are just a bit ridiculous. And don’t get me started on how wrong the police procedures are portrayed. I am much more willing to overlook stuff like this with Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie et al. because times were different, but in a modern whodunit I expect more, unless it’s YA - which is why I usually don’t read them. Also, I tend to enjoy books more that are more character-driven. I don’t think we really get to know (or care) about any of the characters.
(I don’t really read whodunits, so can’t really give an example of one I liked. I like mysteries just along the lines of family secrets and stuff. Kate Morton, Lisa Jewell… I don’t really need a logic puzzle in my mystery, but I do want it to be plausible.)
Agreed. I felt the solution was closer to “insane troll logic” than actual logic, which also played into making the conclusion underwhelming for me.
I feel like it would have been better if the criminal had been revealed to be a ninja or something (so that I could believe the criminal could pull that off without anyone noticing )
ngl, if it had gone into the comedic, troll territory in the end, I might have appreciated it more. Like, the author makes you believe it’s a bad whodunit, when in fact it was a surrealistic mindbender all along.
I don’t know, that bit didn’t really bother me. In fact, this was framed so much as the battle of two masterminds, one having planned and committed the perfect crime and the other using his massive intellect to solve it, that I appreciated the randomness at the end. This wasn’t a masterplan at all. The killer had something much simpler planned, but the girl blocking his exit route changed all that. He would have definitely been caught, but then he got lucky, and thinking quickly used the only escape route he had available. There were a million ways this could go wrong, obviously, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he remained undetected. This was the only real-world element for me. We had a killer in panic, doing a crazy thing because he had no other options. Not a genius who had planned all that from the beginning.
Not that I would have been opposed to a ninja
Fair enough. Maybe it’s just a question of expectations, but that’s exactly what I expected out of this book when the marketing described it as 平成のエラリー・クイーン.
Hmm, I don’t think I agree that YA disregards police procedure more than non-YA (of course, so many mysteries lock up the cast in an isolated location that police can’t reach that can make it kind of hard to tell xD) but 体育館 was definitely much more flagrant in its disregard for it. And yeah, this book was pretty much exclusively plot-driven.
But all I need is a logic puzzle in my mystery, I don’t care if it’s plausible!