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Tattoo Murder Case (Soho crime) by Akimitsu…
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Tattoo Murder Case (Soho crime) (original 1948; edition 2003)

by Akimitsu Takagi

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368968,828 (3.58)38
Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:One of Japan's most popular mystery writers delivers "scenes of fastidiously executed decadence" in a "tale of sexual obsession" (The New York Times Book Review).

Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs discovered in a room locked from the inside. 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.

"Clever, kinky, highly entertaining." ??The Washington Post Book World

"A delightful, different book, not only because of its unusual setting and premise, but because Takagi is a powerful plotter and constructor of fascinating, complex characters." ??The A.V. Club

"Has all the mind-boggling braininess and dazzling artifice of mystery's Golden Age, spiced with voyeuristic close-ups of a dying art in which postwar Japan remains supreme: full-body tattoos . . . Intricate, fantastic, and utterly absorbing. More, please." ??Kirkus Rev
… (more)
Member:Iambik
Title:Tattoo Murder Case (Soho crime)
Authors:Akimitsu Takagi
Info:Soho Crime (2003), Paperback, 324 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi (1948)

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» See also 38 mentions

English (8)  French (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Well-written. This novel about 1950's Tokyo taught me that Japan (as many countries) suffered during and for years after WWII. As well as about Japan's excellence in block and tattoo art.Seems like while men were treated as kings, women were not treated as full equals.How surprising!!

But... book's pace is slow. And I simply didn't feel satisfied after reading this.

I haven't decided if I will try another of Takagi's books.
  Bookish59 | Oct 4, 2023 |
Would I read another book by this author?
Yes.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes.

Who would I recommend this book to?
Anyone who enjoys golden age murder mysteries.

Did this book inspire me to do anything?
I have a handful of other Japanese murder mystery books and I am now likely to read them sooner that later as a result of this book.

This is a locked-room murder mystery set in Japan in 1947. The book is interesting not simply because of its murder mystery nature, but also because it is set in post WWII Japan and gives a glimpse of life in Post-war Japan. It was interesting to read about the cultural norms in Japan in relation to greeting people, visiting their homes, and general politeness.

In terms of culture, the position of women in Japanese homes was highlighted. One quote that brought it home to me is:

The three men shared a light meal of rice, miso soup with tofu and straw mushrooms, grilled butterfish, and various savory side dishes. (Daiyu's wife Mariko, as was customary, served them in silence, the ante later by herself in the kitchen.)

The approach to murder mystery involved setting the scene, describing the scene, setting out the evidence as gleaned from various interviews and investigations, and then the build up to the big reveal.

I found the characters engaging and the story held my interest and attention. There was a slight slowing of pace in the third quarter of the book and that has led me to give the book 3.5 stars rather than 4. ( )
1 vote pgmcc | Jan 20, 2023 |
This book was fascinating - set and written in Japan in the 1940s, it gave me so many fascinating insights about this time period. I also liked the lively depictions of several characters. The mystery itself was "obviously" quite convoluted, and not sure I was convinced by the back and forth of point of views at the beginning. The translation itself was interesting, probably challenging to do. It read as more "modern" than the 1940s and while it helped me get into the book more quickly and read it fast, it was also a bit jarring at times. But it's really hard to do :)

I want to thank NetGalley and Pushkin Press for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  OpheliaAutumn | Nov 3, 2022 |
Kinue, a woman with a full body tattoo, is murdered--her torso is missing, but her head and other body parts are found in a locked room in her home. Attempting to solve the case is the pov character, Kenzo, a medical student who is helping his brother Daiyu, a detective. But the case is going nowhere, other murders are occurring (including that of the initial prime suspect), until Kenzo's genius friend Kyosue steps in. There is a very elegant solution.
I learned lots about tattoos, especially that in Tokyo there is a tattoo museum that contains the skins of humans who had had full body tattoos. In Japan, tattoo was an art form that was much admired, though also, at times, illegal. It has often been associated with gangsters. Japanese tattoo connoseurs scorn American tattoos and call them "sushi tattoos" because "they're scattered about on the skin like pieces of sushi with no artistic continuity or coherence."
I enjoyed the book, but found it a bit of a period piece. ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 21, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:One of Japan's most popular mystery writers delivers "scenes of fastidiously executed decadence" in a "tale of sexual obsession" (The New York Times Book Review).

Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs discovered in a room locked from the inside. 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.

"Clever, kinky, highly entertaining." ??The Washington Post Book World

"A delightful, different book, not only because of its unusual setting and premise, but because Takagi is a powerful plotter and constructor of fascinating, complex characters." ??The A.V. Club

"Has all the mind-boggling braininess and dazzling artifice of mystery's Golden Age, spiced with voyeuristic close-ups of a dying art in which postwar Japan remains supreme: full-body tattoos . . . Intricate, fantastic, and utterly absorbing. More, please." ??Kirkus Rev

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