The Tattoo Murder Case


Akimitsu Takagi - 1948
    Gone is the part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor who was first to discover the crime scene, feels compelled to assist his detective brother, who is in charge of the case. But Kenzo has a secret: he was Kinue’s lover, and soon his involvement in the investigation becomes as twisted and complex as the writhing snakes that once adorned Kinue’s torso.The Tattoo Murder Case was originally published in 1948; this is the first English translation.

The Name of the Game is a Kidnapping


Keigo Higashino - 2002
    But he was betrayed by the owner of the company that just hired him.Down on his luck and now on his way out career-wise, he planned to go publically chew out the man who brough him down. Instead, upon uncovering a deep secret, he devises a plan to bring down his new rival in a twisted game called kidnapping.

The Emperor's Snuff-Box


John Dickson Carr - 1942
    These fragments tell a tale, or rather two tales, one true and one false. Now, an English expert in criminology forces the evidence to tell the truth about what happened and to point out the real murderer.

The Devil's Disciple


Shirō Hamao - 1929
    The first English language translation of a chilling murder mystery by a prolific Japanese detective novelist both psychological and legal.

The Decagon House Murders


Yukito Ayatsuji - 1987
    Predictably, they get picked off one by one by an unseen murderer. Is there a madman on the loose? What connection is there to the earlier murders? The answer is a bombshell revelation which few readers will see coming. The Decagon House Murders is a milestone in the history of detective fiction. Published in 1987, it is credited with launching the shinhonkaku movement which restored Golden Age style plotting and fair-play clues to the Japanese mystery scene, which had been dominated by the social school of mystery for several decades. It is also said to have influenced the development of the wildly popular anime movement.This, the first English edition, contains a lengthy introduction by the maestro of Japanese mystery fiction, Soji Shimada.Locked Room International discovers and publishes impossible crime masterpieces from all over the world

Seventeen: A Novel


Hideo Yokoyama - 2003
    Kazumasa Yuuki, a seasoned reporter at the North Kanto Times, runs a daily gauntlet of the power struggles and office politics that plague its newsroom. But when an air disaster of unprecedented scale occurs on the paper’s doorstep, its staff is united by an unimaginable horror and a once-in-a-lifetime scoop.2003. Seventeen years later, Yuuki remembers the adrenaline-fueled, emotionally charged seven days that changed his and his colleagues’ lives. He does so while making good on a promise he made that fateful week—one that holds the key to its last solved mystery and represents Yuuki’s final, unconquered fear.From Hideo Yokoyama, the celebrated author of Six Four, comes Seventeen—an investigative thriller set amid the aftermath of disaster.

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders


Sōji Shimada - 1981
    Who murdered the artist Umezawa, raped and killed his daughter, and then chopped up the bodies of six others to create Azoth, the supreme woman? With maps, charts, and other illustrations, this story of magic and illusion, pieced together like a great stage tragedy, challenges the reader to unravel the mystery before the final curtain. The Tokyo Zodiac Murders joins a new wave of Japanese murder mysteries being translated into English.Soji Shimada, author of over 100 mystery novels, is a designer, musician, and astrology writer.From the publisher: for more mystery from Japan, check out The Inugami Clan by Seishi Yokomizo.

Sleeping Dragon


Miyuki Miyabe - 1991
    Add in a touch of the paranormal, and this noir tale of suspense is on track to garner reviews as glowing as those she's received in the past -- Land to win her a legion of new readers.A fierce typhoon strikes Tokyo one night, flooding the city streets. Someone has unlawfully removed a manhole cover, and a little boy out searching for a lost pet goes missing, possibly drowned in the sewers. Is it murder or accidental? These events bring together a struggling journalist named Kosaka, who is grappling with the ghosts of his past, and two young men who may or may not have psychic powers. The three form an unwilling team not only to search for the lost boy, but also to solve a second mystery involving Kosaka's former fianc�e. Kosaka's career and personal life have stagnated since his breakup with Saeko a few years earlier, and locked him in an emotional impasse. Each of his two reluctant comrades--Shinji and Naoya--is struggling to come to terms with his unique powers ("the dragon within"). While Shinji wants to use his abilities to help others, Naoya seeks to hide his. Kosaka, meanwhile, doubts the young men's ability, all-too-clearly aware that such claims of psychic knowledge of the crimes could in reality mask a criminal culpability. But then all three are forced into an unsteady alliance to try to save the life of someone close to Kosaka.

The Ruined Map


Kōbō Abe - 1967
    With The Ruined Map, he crafted a mesmerizing literary crime novel that combines the narrative suspense of Chandler with the psychological depth of Dostoevsky.Mr. Nemuro, a respected salesman, disappeared over half a year ago, but only now does his alluring yet alcoholic wife hire a private eye. The nameless detective has but two clues: a photo and a matchbook. With these he embarks upon an ever more puzzling pursuit that leads him into the depths of Tokyo’s dangerous underworld, where he begins to lose the boundaries of his own identity. Surreal, fast-paced, and hauntingly dreamlike, Abe’s masterly novel delves into the unknowable mysteries of the human mind.Translated from the Japanese by E. Dale Saunders.

The Black Lizard / Beast in the Shadows


Edogawa Rampo - 1928
    Edogawa Rampo (pseudonym of Hirai Taro, 1894-1965) is the acknowledged grand master of Japan's golden age of crime and mystery fiction. In the early part of his career, he created the Japanese gothic mystery, developing the work of Edgar Allan Poe and related nineteenth century writers in a distinctly Japanese form. This part of his career coincided with a great flowering in Japanese literature and culture, a relatively free and uninhibited popular press being a defining feature of the times. In this context, Rampo's dark vision and extravagant grotesquery found an avid readership, and had a profound influence on other writers. The Black Lizard, a master criminal as deadly as she is beautiful, wagers all in an epic battle with a master detective. A mystery writer vows to protect the woman he secretly loves from the Beast in the Shadows, but disaster strikes when he turns detective himself.

The Lady Killer


Masako Togawa - 1963
    Behind this unexceptional facade, his life is dedicated to the conquest of a never-ending succession of young women; a secret apartment facilitates his many phony identities, a diary records each seduction. Over the next months, three of Honda's bedmates are murdered. He's eventually convicted of two of the killings. The evidence against him--in part, blood and semen traces, lack of alibis and his diary--seems solid as granite, but elderly Kentaro Hatanaka, his appeal lawyer, is a man of sensitivity, tenacity and imagination. He needs all of those qualities to get to the surprise spider in this tightly woven web. Full of subtly menacing tensions and sharp psychological insights, told in lean, sparsely ornamented style. This one is a must for the discerning reader. - kirkus reviews

Remote Control


Kōtarō Isaka - 2007
    Two years ago he achieved brief notoriety for rescuing a local actress from a robbery attempt while making a delivery to her apartment. Now he is back in the spotlight - this time as the main suspect in the assassination of a newly elected prime minster who had come to Sendai for a hometown victory parade. Set in a near-future Japan modeled on the United States, Remote Control follows Aoyagi on a forty-eight-hour chase, in a dramatic retelling of the Kennedy killing with Aoyagi in the role of a framed Lee Harvey Oswald. A massive manhunt is underway. As Aoyagi runs, he must negotiate trigger-happy law enforcement and Security Pods set up throughout the city to monitor cell-phone and email transmissions and keep a photo record of street traffic. Can he discover why he has been set up and who is responsible? Can he find the real assassin and prove to the world his innocence - amidst media pronouncements of his guilt - before the conspirators take him out? Isaka's style and worldview are such that he is often compared to Haruki Murakami; but he defies an easy label as a writer, with a voice, a sense of humor, and an imagination that are truly unique. Now, with this excellent translation by Stephen Snyder, readers everywhere can enjoy one of Japan's finest literary talents. Winner of the Shugoro Yamamoto Prize and the Japan Booksellers' Prize No. 1 in Japan's 2009 "This Mystery is Amazing " rankings

The Key & Diary of a Mad Old Man


Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - 1961
    Their alternating diaries record their separate adventures, but whether for themselvess or each other becomes the question. Diary of a Mad Old Man records, with alternating humor and sadness, seventy-seven-year-old Utsugi’s discovery that even his stroke-ravaged body still contains a raging libido, especially in the unwitting presence of his chic, mysterious daughter-in-law.

The Last Train


Michael Pronko - 2017
    He’s lost his girlfriend and still dreams of his time studying in America, but with a stable job, his own office and a half-empty apartment, he’s settled in.When an American businessman turns up dead, his mentor Takamatsu calls him out to the site of a grisly murder. A glimpse from a security camera video suggests the killer was a woman, but in Japan, that seems unlikely. Hiroshi quickly learns how close homicide and suicide can appear in a city full of high-speed trains just a step—or a push—away.Takamatsu drags Hiroshi out to the hostess clubs and skyscraper offices of Tokyo in search of the killer. She’s trying to escape Japan for a new life by playing a high-stakes game of insider information. To find her, Hiroshi goes deeper and deeper into Tokyo’s intricate, ominous market for buying and selling the most expensive land in the world.When Takamatsu inexplicably disappears, Hiroshi teams up with ex-sumo wrestler Sakaguchi. They scour Tokyo’s sacred temples, corporate offices and industrial wastelands to find out where Takamatsu went, and why one woman would be driven to murder when she seems to have it all.After years in America and lost in neat, clean spreadsheets, Hiroshi confronts the stark realities of the biggest city in the world, where inside information can travel in a flash from the top investment firms to the bottom of the working world, where street-level punks and teenage hostesses sell their souls for a small cut of highly lucrative land deals.Hiroshi’s determined to cut through Japan’s ambiguities—and dangers—to find the murdering ex-hostess before she extracts her final revenge—which just might be him.THE LAST TRAIN is the gripping new Tokyo-based mystery by multi-award-winning author Michael Pronko

The Silent Dead


Tetsuya Honda - 2006
    Reiko Himekawa and her squad take the case. The victim was slaughtered brutally---his wounds are bizarre, and no one can figure out the "what" or the "why" of this crime.At age twenty-nine, Reiko Himekawa of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police's Homicide Division is young to have been made lieutenant, particularly because she lacks any kind of political or family connections. Despite barriers created by age, gender, and lack of connections, she is mentally tough, oblivious to danger, and has an impressive ability to solve crimes.Reiko makes a discovery that leads the police to uncover eleven other bodies, all wrapped in the same sort of plastic. Few of the bodies are identifiable, but the ones that are have no connection to each other. The only possible clue is a long shot lead to a website spoken only in whispers on the Internet, something on the dark web known as "Strawberry Night."But while she is hunting the killer, the killer is hunting her... and she may very well have been marked as the next victim.