The Tattoo Murder Case (Detective Kamizu)

The Tattoo Murder Case (Detective Kamizu)

by Akimitsu Takagi

Gone is the part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered.

But Kenzo has a secret: he was Kinues lover, and soon his involvement in the investigation becomes as twisted and complex as the writhing snakes that once adorned Kinues torso.The Tattoo Murder Case was originally published in 1948; this is the first English translation.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Mystery
  • Rating: 3.79
  • Pages: 324
  • Publish Date: July 1st 2003 by Soho Crime
  • Isbn10: 1569471568
  • Isbn13: 9781569471562

What People Think about "The Tattoo Murder Case (Detective Kamizu)"

Imagine for a moment Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had decided to set his Sherlock Holmes mysteries in Japan. Translated into English for the first time in 1999 by Deborah Boehm and published by Soho Crime, this translation bridges the half century since the novel was first published and gives us a fresh, new locked room mystery in a country where full body tattoos reach the status of art. When parts of a dismembered body are found in a room locked from the inside, Kenzo Matsushita, 29-year-old former military medic, contacts his older brother, Detective Chief Inspector Daiyu Matsushita to investigate the case. Kenzo is Doc Watson to Kyosukes Sherlock Holmes.

I stumbled upon this book while looking for a different Japanese murder mystery and am eternally grateful.

Translated into English for the first time in 1999 by Deborah Boehm and published by Soho Crime, this translation bridges the half century since the novel was first published and gives us a fresh, new locked room mystery in a country where full body tattoos reach the status of art. When parts of a dismembered body are found in a room locked from the inside, Kenzo Matsushita, 29-year-old former military medic, contacts his older brother, Detective Chief Inspector Daiyu Matsushita to investigate the case. Kenzo is Doc Watson to Kyosukes Sherlock Holmes.

Comment upon first reading: Enjoyable Japanese whodunnit.

This comes across as disconnected, disjointed, and at the same time kind of homogenized for general acceptance. A bit pulpy, maybe, and not the last word in characterization, but the story is good enough on its own merits that something more involving could have resulted ... Less of a window in time (into a very strange era in Japan, a recently-postfeudal but credible world-power, reduced to new humiliations every day), and more of a market-competitive genre mystery circa the present, rather than 1947. In the sense that locale, period particulars and art direction in general would certainly be main attractions for this kind of novel, what's missing amounts to the donut and what's present is the hole.

It's one of the things I enjoyed most, his logical reasoning process, which was written well. However, if you wouldn't know any better, the audio was OK.

(The other is "Honeymoon to Nowhere.") This is a dark, tantalizing mystery with an atmosphere reminiscent of Edogawa Rampo's darkest stories. Kinue's older brother Tsunetaro has the tattoo of Orochimaru's rival Jiraiya, who had a giant for a familiar, while her younger sister Tamae was given the tattoo of Tsunedahime, who rode an enormous slug. Kinue has a love-hate relationship with her tattoos, which cover a great portion of her body. She takes part in a contest for the best tattoos and easily wins the women's division: "...it appeared to the spectators as if the wild-eyed sorcerer on her back was blushing in shame, and the giant snake seemed to be wriggling like a living thing. Is there someone hunting for tattoos and perfectly willing to take lives to possess them? It's almost like Takagi got bored with Daiyu and Kenzo and decided to try someone new.

"The Tattoo Murder Case" starts with Kenzo visiting a tattoo contest, where he meets a lurid and fascinating woman called Kinue, who seems to be the lover of a shady character. Takagi does an amazing job in creating a lurid, dark, fascinating environment, with shady, dark and mysterious characters.

This was great book - the writing was fresh and contemporary even though it originally came out in 1948.

He sent the second draft of his first detective story, The Tattoo Murder Case, to the great mystery writer Edogawa Ranpo, who recognized his skill and who recommended it to a publisher. Takagi was a self-taught legal expert and the heroes in most of his books were usually prosecutors or police detectives, although the protagonist in his first stories was Kyosuke Kamizu, an assistant professor at Tokyo University. Takagi explored variations on the detective novel in the 1960s, including historical mysteries, picaresque novels, legal mysteries, economic crime stories, and science fiction alternate history.