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Matsumoto Seichō (1909–1992)

Author of Inspector Imanishi Investigates

135+ Works 1,529 Members 47 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

The creator of the social detective story, Seicho is credited with reviving the mystery genre after World War II. He began writing in his middle age and has produced over 450 fiction and nonfiction works. (Bowker Author Biography)

Works by Matsumoto Seichō

Points and Lines (1958) 404 copies
A Quiet Place (1971) 185 copies
Pro Bono (1961) 79 copies
Il dubbio (1982) 13 copies
Mäng sõiduplaaniga (1974) 11 copies
Meisō chizu (1983) 10 copies
Zero Focus (2024) 8 copies
Agenzia A (1959) 8 copies
Mord am Amagi-Paß (1983) 7 copies
Le point zéro (2018) 5 copies
Il passo di Amagi (2022) 5 copies
夜光の階段 3 copies
霧の旗 (新潮文庫) (1972) 3 copies
(1995) 3 copies
点と線 3 copies
高台の家 (2011) 3 copies
山峡の章 (1981) 3 copies
危険な斜面 3 copies
蒼い描点 (1972) 3 copies
ガラスの城 (1979) 3 copies
十万分の一の偶然 (1984) 3 copies
疑惑 (1985) 3 copies
巨人の磯 (1977) 3 copies
時間の習俗 (2009) 3 copies
死の発送 2 copies
眼の壁 (新潮文庫) (1971) 2 copies
証明 2 copies
喪失の儀礼 2 copies
混声の森 2 copies
徳川家康 2 copies
浮遊昆虫 2 copies
彩霧 2 copies
黒い福音 2 copies
遠くからの声 (1976) 2 copies
彩り河. 下 (1986) 2 copies
彩り河. 上 (1986) 2 copies
紅い白描 (1985) 2 copies
翳った旋舞 (1985) 2 copies
憎悪の依頼 (1982) 2 copies
強き蟻 (1974) 2 copies
火の縄 (1986) 2 copies
隠花の飾り (1982) 2 copies
無宿人別帳 (1996) 2 copies
眼の気流 (1976) 2 copies
黒い空 (1988) 2 copies
けものみち 2 copies
鬼火の町 (2003) 2 copies
張込み (1965) 2 copies
Dの複合 (新潮文庫) (1973) 2 copies
Kagerō Ezu 2 copies
松本 清張 (1970) 2 copies
彩霧 = irodorikiri (2012) 1 copy
死の枝 1 copy
夜光の階段 上 (1981) 1 copy
地の指 上 (2013) 1 copy
隠花平原〈下〉 (1996) 1 copy
隠花平原〈上〉 (1996) 1 copy
夜光の階段 下 (1981) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Oxford Book of Detective Stories (2000) — Contributor — 69 copies
De tatoeëerder en andere verhalen (1980) — Contributor — 39 copies
Murder in Japan: Japanese Stories of Crime and Detection (1987) — Contributor — 19 copies
Classic short stories of crime and detection, 1950-1975 (1983) — Contributor — 6 copies


Common Knowledge



A wonderful read from an author who is new to me.

Written in 1958 and apparently previously published in English under the title "Points and Lines", this is a new translation issued by Penguin Modern Classics with a wonderful cover!

Having read the book, I think the previous title is more suitable, but I can understand how meaningless it would appear to someone unfamiliar with the storyline.

Some have described it as "cosy crime" or a "procedural", but to me it is an intriguing masterpiece, concerning what at appears to be a double suicide of two young people (Toki and Sayama), with two quite different detectives, one older regionally based (Jutaro), the other younger Tokyo based (Mihara), with quite different approaches.

You "know" from almost the very beginning that business man Yasuda has to be involved with the suicides somehow, but he seems to have iron-clad alibis (being located at the very north of Japan days before and after the likely time of the deaths, with those deaths occurring at the very south of Japan.

Most of those investigating have written off the deaths as indeed being suicides, but Jutaro thinks that, with Toki and Sayama having been seen animatedly talking to each other when alighting a long distance train in Tokyo, it is curious that a receipt for a single train mealis found on Sayama's body if indeed the two were travelling together.

Mihara is with the white crime division in Tokyo, and becomes interested in Jutaro's thoughts when Sayama is identified as a middle ranking executive within a Government Ministry, that is racked with rumours of corruption.

What makes the book so interesting is how the 2 detectives support each other, as they piece together not only how, but also why, these crimes are effected. Such is done by interrogating train and plane timetables, the sending and receipt of telegrams and passenger lists.

As they investigate, the facts seem to confirm that Yasuda has manufactured various events, but those very events (if to be believed) seem to confirm that Yasuda was at the wrong end of the country at the time of the deaths.

The writing is clear and spare. The denouement is a cracker.

An authorial note states that all of the train and plane times mentioned in the book are as per the relevant 1957 timetables in use in Japan (being the time set for the novel).

I will bee on the lookout for more by Matsumoto.

Big Ship

24 July 2023
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bigship | 19 other reviews | Jul 23, 2023 |
Il tempo obbliga i treni a incontrarsi, le persone a bordo, invece, si incontrano solo per caso.

Quando il senso comune diventa un dato di fatto spesso ci induce in errore.
NewLibrary78 | 19 other reviews | Jul 22, 2023 |
I fully applaud the recent trend to publish translations of Japanese mystery novels, often books that were key to the development of the genre.

This one is short, but entertaining. As reader you are not directly told who the guilty party is, but it becomes obvious very quickly. The tension in the story comes from the struggle that the detectives have to prove it. And this all about perseverance, as there is no dramatic breakthrough. A careful reader should probably be a step ahead of of the slightly plodding investigators. You then are seriously disappointed about your conclusions, again and again — it is a neat literary device.

There are, in my opinion, a few plot holes, affecting key events, and the wrap-up is a bit hasty. The story survives such flaws because of its atmosphere and its sober but effective style.
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EmmanuelGustin | 19 other reviews | Jul 19, 2023 |
Nicely done police procedural, with mystery arising from how rather than who (this basically stated fairly early). No longer than it needs to be, though the epistolary ending is a little abrupt. Nice, spare, flat prose (artefact of author or translation?). Simenon comparison apposite.
hypostasise | 19 other reviews | Jan 11, 2023 |



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