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This blog is managed by us two sisters, known to some as Ants and Epic. We're a pair of up-and-coming authors and avid readers. This blog is mainly full of honest, Christian book-reviews and an occasional update about our writing. We love hearing from you all so feel free to drop a comment anywhere to just say hi!
Also, got any book suggestions? Something you'd like to see reviewed? Leave the title in the comments and we'll try to get to it!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Book Review: The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro

Summary:Akechi Kogoro, detective extraordinaire.
In Japan, this is a name that fires the hearts and imaginations of readers young at heart. Cool and sophisticated, Akechi moves effortlessly through the world of Japan in the golden era between the wars, defeating masterminds and saving the day. He has been the hero of Japanese children for generations, and starred in a host of movies.
    The stories in this volume predate all of that; his secret origin, if you will. Readers familiar with the exploits of the great detective Akechi Kogoro might have some difficulty recognizing the impeccably dressed and universally respected man of action in the amateur detective, an eccentric twenty-something of little means with disheveled hair and a shabby kimono. The Akechi who appears in this volume is a hobbyist in crime whose identity is not yet fixed either in the eyes of the reading public or in the mind of his creator. Supporting characters such as Akechi's wife and his young assistant have not yet been introduced, and the first confrontation between the great detective and the Fiend with Twenty Faces is still a decade away.

      And now they are available in English as well, to delight a new audience! 
The Case of the Murder on D Hill 「D坂の殺人事件」
The Black Hand Gang 「黒手組」
The Ghost 「幽霊」
The Dwarf 「一寸法師」

Thoughts:  Believe it or not I actually cut down that summary up there for you all. 
 Akechi Kogoro is the Sherlock Holmes of Japan. Just about anything mystery make mention of the famous detective. The Author's name, Edogawa Rampo, is a pull on the Japanese pronunciation of Edgar Allen Poe who is said to be the father of detective fiction. I've seen too many shows, read too many mangas, heard too many references, to not hunt down some of Rampo's works to read about his famous detective.This book is one of the few that have been translated into English and I was ever so happy to find it. It's full of some great sleuthing and carries with it that classic, air of mystery and intrigue. 
 While no Sherlock, Akechi is notable is his own way and is a really great detective. I loved these stories, curled up on the couch in the evening and following the clues once more, trying to discover not so much Who did it? as How'd they do it? 
 The stories definitely kept me riveted; worthy of Doyle or Poe, they were gripping and intense but mingled with Japanese culture as to be educational too.  
 Everything is written as though through the eyes of Akechi's colleague who tells things dutifully and well adding the memorable tones of a Watson character to the mix while masterfully weaving the calm day to day life with the dark doings of the night.   

Content: This is not a book for the squeamish or easily disturbed. There are murders and violence to start off with. Dismembered body parts, blood, the stench of rotting bodies, and other grotesque details are used but without to much graphic depiction. There are mentions of affairs, scandals and rapes; again without detail or cut off before the actual act. The Dwarf had the most content out of all the stories and readers should definitely beware that one. There are mentions of various religions and a girl runs away to get married at one point. Some of the conclusions to cases are not morally sound. 
 All in all this one if definitely for the adults but any mature reader who loves a good mystery should give at least the first three of these stories a try. Akechi deserves a place beside you Sherlock.

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