"With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself seemed to increase. It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend. Whenever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus nearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this manner, to my breast. At such times, although I longed to destroy it with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly by a memory of my former crime, but chiefly - let me confess it at once - by absolute dread of the beast"
I haven't touched an actual game console in a while now and my hands are itching for a controller, but would connecting my PSP to a TV sorta count as playing on a console? -> Random thoughts.
Oh, did I mention that this is the first novel in the highly popular Mikeneko Holmes (Tortoise-shell Cat Holmes) series? The series detective is actually a cat. Katayama and Holmes meet for the first time here, but the pattern is the same in the subsequent novels: Holmes has a knack for deduction it seems, as she gives hints to Katayama (by 'accidently' exposing clues or even arranging items in a way to push Katayama's thoughts in the right direction) and she sometimes even attacks (would-be) murderers. Holmes is like Conan. Only she's a cat. Katayama is the one who in the end 'solves' the locked room murder case, but only because Holmes helped him a lot.
Of course, my personal theory is that Holmes is actually the big bad behind everything: I mean, if I am to expect that Holmes is able to subtly guide the thoughts and actions of Katayama, what withholds me from thinking Holmes might be doing the same with the criminals, subtly tempting them to murder and giving them hints in hiding their deeds? So in my world, Holmes is actually playing around with all humans, tempting them into murder with one paw, while guiding the police with the other. You have to do something with your spare time if you're a genius cat.
But back to the book. Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri is a very easy to read book and I mean that in the linguistic way as well as well as in regards to the plot. Just set your mindset to "what-to-expect-in-a-two-hour-TV-drama" and you're prepared for every plot twist the story tries to throw at you. Which is a lot. But seriously, there is not one single surprising development in this whole novel. Heck, even the way the story is written feels like a standard mystery TV drama, with occasional scene cuts to the murder victims just before... they actually become victims.
Though I was sorta suprised by the theme of a prostition ring run from an university though. The novel was first published in 1978, which means it should predate most discussion regarding enjo kousai, which is admittely not completely the same (age of participants, the actual services rendered and payment methods), but I do wonder how this novel was read within the Japanese society in the late 80's~early 90's. Especially as to me, the description of the students and the university felt kinda vague and at times, I totally forgot it was about an university and not a high school.
Which was not helped by the horrible cover art of my copy. It is part of a special 2010 series of Kadokawa pockets featuring ex-
And the locked room, the whole reason I bought this book (for 105 yen, so I shouldn't really complain anyway)? Interesting idea, bad execution. Really, there are tons of viable objections you could raise against how the locked room murder is achieved in this novel. Though you might argue that a victim who is so stupid to actually die because of such a trick had deserved that anyway. The basic idea is really good though, but it just doesn't work like this. Despite Akagawa's pitiful attempt to explain away some of the easier raised objections as his detective(s) explain the murder. No idea why so many authors voted for this locked room trick. And I can't really check it now, as my volume containing the list (+ commentary) is in the Netherlands.
Oh, and I just watched the first episode of the identically titled Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri TV drama, which is based on several of the Mikeneko Holmes novels. The first episode was based on this novel and... yeah, you can pretty much ignore it. A lot of the original story was cut. And a lot of bad elements were introduced to fill the time. A lot.
I don't think Holmes will appear anymore on this blog, though I'm also sorta busy with a sound novel video game produced by Akagawa Jirou, so he might be mentioned again in the future. If I actually manage to finish the game.
Original Japanese title(s): 赤川次郎 『三毛猫ホームズの推理』