cover image The Village of Eight Graves

The Village of Eight Graves

Seishi Yokomizo, trans. from the Japanese by Bryan Karetnyk. Pushkin Vertigo, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-78227-745-3

Set in 1950s Japan, this taut mystery from Yokomizo (1902–1981) provides an original variation on the plot of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Tatsuya Terada, a cosmetics company employee in his 20s who believes he has no surviving relatives, hears a radio announcement asking anyone who knows of his whereabouts to contact an attorney. He subsequently learns that an unknown, unnamed wealthy relative wants to adopt and provide for him. Tatsuya then gets an anonymous warning to “never set foot in the village of Eight Graves again,” lest it “become a sea of blood.” A curse was placed on the village in 1566 by the leader of a group of eight samurai killed by its residents. His vow of vengeance apparently manifested itself in the 1920s, when a man related to Tatsuya went berserk and slaughtered more than 30 villagers. Tatsuya agrees to return to Eight Graves, triggering a series of baffling murders. Kosuke Kindaichi, Yokomizo’s Columbo-like sleuth, arrives to sort through the tangled puzzle and provide a satisfying solution. Fans of gothic-tinged fair play will be enthralled. (Nov.)