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The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi

The Tattoo Murder Case (1948)

by Akimitsu Takagi

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A Japanese version of a closed room murder. When a woman is murdered, her fully tattooed torso stolen, and her limbs and head left behind in the bathroom, is found, the suspects range from her boyfriend, boyfriend's brother, a professor with a penchant for buying tattooed skin from owners upon their demise, and an ex-boyfriend recently released from prison. The woman is the daughter of a reknown and controversial Japanese tattoo artist.

Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor with a secret association with the dead woman, tries to assist his detective brother in the investigations, but his efforts end up contributing to the death of the dead woman's brother who is found with his tattooed skin peeled off his body.

The mystery behind not just the closed room murder, but the identity of the murderer is unveiled when a friend of Kenzo's, in possession of a brilliant mind, enters the picture and slowly, almost in the style of Sherlock Holmes, points out the inconsistencies in witness testimonials, items of importance that had been overlooked or deemed insignificant to the police, and plays games of strategy with 2 suspects. ( )
  cameling | Oct 7, 2014 |
This was one of the first books I received as a Bookcrossing RABCK, and I chose it almost at random. Written (and set) in the 1940s, apart from the odd reference to "the war" (unless you check the publish date, it could be any way) it is modern enough that it can be set in any time in the last 80 years in Japan.

The book details the investigation of killings where the main trait of the killings is the removal of some unique tattoos from the dead bodies.
  nordie | May 17, 2011 |
  JackFrost | Dec 30, 2008 |
This book became much more interesting to me once I realized that it was originally written in 1948. From this perspective, it can be viewed as an interesting view into the post-World War II Japanese culture - a period when the country was adapting to a changed world and changing cultural norms. The crime/detective aspect of the story is interesting and fun to read, but wasn't very sophisticated. From what I have researched, the descriptions of tattoo culture at the time are historically accurate. ( )
  katydid-it | Jul 21, 2008 |
From 1948! Hard to believe, the murder investigated is quite gruesome. Reads much like the mysteries of the time like Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh, except with the cultural Japanese flavor of tattoo art and more. A very interesting mystery and engaging read. ( )
  noblechicken | Jun 10, 2008 |
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A Japanese mystery set in 1947 Tokyo featuring Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor who has an affair with a married woman with a tattooed torso. One day he finds her murdered, the torso missing, and sets out to find the killer. A look at the art of tattooing in Japan where it is banned.… (more)

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