cover image Death on Gokumon Island

Death on Gokumon Island

Seishi Yokomizo, trans. from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai. Pushkin Vertigo, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-78227-741-5

In 1946, private detective Kosuke Kindaichi, the protagonist of this exceptional whodunit from Yokomizo (1902–1981), travels to the Japanese island of Gokumon, which has a reputation for insularity and whose inhabitants are all rumored to be crazy. Kosuke’s on a mission for a deceased friend with whom he served in the army, Chimata Kito. Chimata beseeched the detective to go to Gokumon to prevent the murders of his three sisters, providing him with a letter of introduction to the island’s three most prominent citizens—the mayor, the priest, and the doctor—but no information as to the basis for his fears. Despite that explanation for his presence, Kosuke is viewed with suspicion by all the islanders he encounters, which makes it more challenging when he’s unable to prevent the killing of one of Chimata’s siblings, whose strangled corpse is hung upside-down from a plum tree. More deaths follow as Kosuke, who himself is suspected of the killing, tries to identify the murderer. The brilliant and intricate plot will keep readers turning the pages. Golden age fans will hope for more translations of this gifted author. (July)