#735: Reprint of the Year – The Red Locked Room [ss] (2020) by Tetsuya Ayukawa [ed. Taku Ashibe & Ho-Ling Wong; trans. Ho-Ling Wong 2020]

So, the obvious question in light of this entry into the Reprint of the Year Awards 2020 as organised by Kate at CrossExaminingCrime is: can these stories originally published between 1954 and 1961 be considered a reprint if they’ve never been published in English before? To which I ask: if they couldn’t, would they be in the running for the Reprint of the Year Awards?

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#305: Murder in the Red Chamber (2004) by Ashibe Taku [trans. Tyran C. Grillo 2012]

Murder in the Red ChamberIt’s been quite some time since I looked at a really meaty impossible crime novel here on The Invisible Event, and a recent sweep through some Eastern treasures thanks to Locked Room International’s The Realm of the Impossible whetted my appetite for something from that culture.  This “Western crime fiction based on a Chinese classic” — that being Dream of the Red Chamber (1791), which itself runs to  multiple volumes and several thousand pages — seemed tailor-made, then.  A powerful dynasty, multitudinous impossibilities, and a dose of historical context sounded perfect; so I’m a little sorry to report that it didn’t quite work for me.  Go ahead, roll your eyes if you like; I’ll explain below.

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#242: The Ginza Ghost [ss] (1932-47) by Keikichi Osaka [trans. Ho-Ling Wong 2017]

Disclosure: I proof-read this book for Locked Room International in March/April 2017.

The Ginza GhostAfter two wonderful shin honkaku novels in The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji and The Moai Island Puzzle by Alice Arisugawa, John Pugmire’s Locked Room International now brings you this honkaku story collection from early pioneer Keikichi Ōsaka.  The introduction by Ashibe Taku, author of Murder in the Red Chamber (2004), does a great job of putting Ōsaka in context, since this was a nascent form of mystery writing that allows a fascinating and at times hugely inventive take on a genre we thought we’d seen everything in already — no mean feat when some of the best here are over 80 years old.  And some of these solutions have to be read to be believed… (in a good way, that is).

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