Thursday, September 3, 2009


"Now, in my opinion, Dupin was a very inferior fellow. That trick of his of breaking in on his friends' thoughts with an apropos remark after a quarter of an hour's silence is really very showy and superficial. He had some analytical genius, no doubt; but he was by no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine."
"A Study in Scarlet"

When you're reading a detective by a writer called Norizuki Rintarou, who writes about the adventures of a writer called Norizuki Rintarou (who also uses a character called Norizuki Rintarou...), you know this is all one big Ellery Queen tribute. Heck, even the name of the book, Norizuki Rintarou no Bouken ("The Adventures of Norizuki Rintarou") is taken from The Adventures of Ellery Queen (which in turn mirrored The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes...). Luckily, it upholds the tradition of the name, because Norizuki Rintarou no Bouken is just as awesome a short story collection as his famous predecessors.

The stories are very Queen-like, with the first one, Shikeishuu no Puzzle ("Puzzle of the Death Row Inmate"), with its prison setting, being clearly based on The Tragedy of Z and even includes a similar conclusion, where by summing up all the attributes of the killer, the identity of the murderer is deduced. Other stories like Kurogo no Ie ("House of the Black Figure") tend to focus more on motives. And even very grotesque motives in Cannibalism Shouron ("Short Article regarding Cannibalism"). Personal favorite point of the collection and actually very Queen-ish, is the role of books in these stories. Four of the seven stories feature books heavily, like Kirisakima ("The Cutting Monster"), the story of a library, where somebody keeps cutting the title pages of famous detective novels. It's all great stuff (just like its sequel, Norizuki Rintarou no Shinbouken ("The New Adventures of Norizuki Rintarou")). While there is already one story of Norizuki available in English (An Urban Legend Puzzle in: Passport to Crime (editor: Hutchings)), more of this modern Queen should be translated. At once.

The first two stories in Nikaidou Reito's Meitantei Mizuno Satoru no Daibouken ("The Great Adventures of Great Detective Mizuno Satoru") are also kinda Queen-ish in spirit, while the last two stories, with its locked rooms and suggestion of the existence of aliens, remind more of Carr. The protagonist, travel agent Mizuno as a character, isn't very interesting though. Mizuno is somewhat similar to the manga Genshiken's Kousaka, in the sense that while he is handsome, trendy and a great succes with women, he is also actually one of the biggest otaku around, knowing thousands of anime songs, every kaijin in Kamen Rider and just being an enormous mystery buff. The premise could work, but it is handled rather predictable.The stories however are certainly interesting though, and the most interesting story in the collection is The Murder Case of "the Murder Case of the Daimyou's Inn", which offers an alternate solution to Yokomizo Seishi's classic locked room mystery Honjin Satsujin Jiken ("The Murder Case of the Daimyou's Inn"). Although, in retrospect, it does remind me a bit of Queen's A Study in Terror.

Norizuki Rintarou no Bouken also happened to be wrapped in a bookcover bookshops give so people can't see what you're reading, which I normally refuse. But those cassiers are unbelievably quick in doing stuff you don't need ("I don't need a plastic ba... oh..."), so I guess I wasn't quick enough when I bought it. The cover is apparently part of a smoking manners campaign. Inhaled. Burned. Thrown away. If it were anything but a cigarette, it surely would be crying. And a picture of a man making love to a sigaret. Things you can only get in Japan.

No comments :

Post a Comment