cover image The Devil’s Flute Murders

The Devil’s Flute Murders

Seishi Yokomizo, trans. from the Japanese by Jim Rion. Pushkin Vertigo, $15.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-78227-884-9

Yokomizo (1902–1981) is at his absolute best in this fourth whodunit featuring Tokyo private detective Kosuke Kindaichi (after 2022’s Death on Gokumon Island). In 1947, Kindaichi is consulted by 20-something Mineko Tsubaki. Her father, Hidesuke, a flautist and composer, disappeared the previous spring, and his corpse was found six weeks later. The official verdict was that Hidesuke poisoned himself, but Mineko and her mother, who believe the corpse was misidentified, suspect he may still be alive. Kindaichi agrees to attend a divination session intended to summon the musician’s spirit and confirm his demise, during which another member of the Tsubaki household is murdered. Now saddled with two cases, Kindaichi must suss out Tsubaki family secrets to prevent even more carnage. From the ominous opening through the brilliant final reveal, Yokomizo ably blends suspense and fair-play detection. Superior atmospherics (“As I take up my pen to begin recording this miserable tale, I cannot help but feel some pangs of conscience,” Kindaichi begins) and a persistent sense of menace mark this as a classic of the genre. (July)