cover image The Inugami Curse

The Inugami Curse

Seishi Yokomizo, trans. from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai. Pushkin Vertigo, $14.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-78227-503-9

A multiple murder case confounds brilliant private detective Kosuke Kindaichi in this stellar whodunit set in 1940s Japan from Yokomizo (1902–1981). Kindiachi receives a cryptic letter from attorney Toyoichiro Wakabayashi after Sahei Inugamu, the affluent Silk King of Japan, has died. The lawyer asks the PI to meet him in Nasu, so that the investigator can forestall “events soaked in blood,” which Wakabayashi fears will claim the lives of multiple members of the Inugami clan. But before the two men can meet, Wakabayashi himself is murdered by a poisoned cigarette. His fears are further validated when Sahei’s will is read, setting up a competition between several potential heirs to meet the stringent conditions for receiving part of the lucrative legacy. Soon afterward, someone starts killing Inugami relatives in bizarre ways; the first is decapitated, and his head posed in a doll’s display. Yokomizo creates a palpable sense of menace throughout with grim foreshadowing of the carnage to come. The solution is a perfect match for the baffling puzzle. Fair-play fans will hope for more translations of this master storyteller. (Aug.)