cover image Lending the Key to the Locked Room

Lending the Key to the Locked Room

Tokuya Higashigawa, trans. from the Japanese by Ho-Ling Wong. Locked Room International, $19.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 979-8-568497-21-9

Higashigawa makes his English-language debut with an immensely enjoyable impossible crime novel. Ryuhei Tomura, a student in the Ikagawa City College film department, accepts an invitation from a friend, Kosaku Moro, who has offered Tomura a job after graduation at the small film production company where he works, to watch a mystery movie titled Massacre Manor in his apartment’s soundproof screening room. After the film ends, Moro goes out for snacks, only to return with the shocking news that Yuki Konno, Tomura’s ex-girlfriend, whom Tomura once threatened while drunk, is dead. Yuki, who lived in a nearby apartment building, was stabbed in the back before being flung to her death from a high balcony. Things get worse when Moro, who could have alibied Tomura, is murdered, apparently by the same weapon that dispatched Yuki, under circumstances that make Tomura the only possible killer. Higashigawa explains everything cleverly, and enhances the classic golden age setup with a funny pair of police detectives investigating both deaths. Fans of Takemaru Abiko’s The 8 Mansion Murders will be pleased. (Mar.)