The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (1987) Review

Why I picked up the book:

I hope every mystery lover and fan of Golden Age Mystery puts this book on their radar. I am so excited to read it! This is a Japanese classic finally translated to English! If loving puzzles and knowing Yukito Ayatsuji plays by the same rules as Agatha Christie, Sayer and Carr aren’t enough, I hope the synopsis will!

Ahhh, to be young and ambitious… university students who formed a mystery club decide to go to this island. Why you ask? Well, that island happens to be the sight of a gruesome and still unsolved murder spree that occurred the previous year. Of course, the uni students feel they can do better than the police and set off on a mission to solve that murder! If you think that it will not be easy and that they will start to be murdered one by one, you’re right. But the publishers promise this is the last thing you will guess correctly! The Decagon House Murders is described as “clever enough that you’re unlikely to guess, but simple enough that you’ll kick yourself when it’s revealed.”

The book through my criteria lens:

Technically, I cannot fault this book. The atmosphere and ambiance were terrific, and it represents Japanese culture and transports you to the year in which it was written, 1987. I appreciate how Yukito stayed true to his plot. The execution was superb. All the characters were developed well, distinguishable, and stayed true to themselves. I felt as though they leaped from the page, and I was on that island with them. Ayatsuji played highly fair, and I can promise (without spoiling the book) the solution relies only on what is on the pages.

My personal feelings:

I am so thankful for reading this book because I have instantly become obsessed with shin honkaku and Japanese Mystery/thrillers! This book is quite literally unputdownable; the characters are annoyingly vivacious, the puzzle is challenging but within reach, and the pace and narrative are superb! I do not speak Japanese, but I have to say that I feel as though Ho-Ling Wong did a fantastic job translating this book. I have read many translated texts, and The Decagon House Murders read complete and as if nothing was lost in translation.

My only complaint is that it will not be published until May 25. I think that Pushkin Vertigo should release at least one book every May 2 from now on, as I would love to make getting a new shin honkaku book part of my birthday tradition!

p.s. Now I want to vacation in a decagon-shaped house on an isolated island!

wonder if it will work

Enjoyability     10

Characters       10

Ambience        10

Fairness          10

Plot                  10

Execution        10

My total rating: 5

Review for this book is mentioned in this video: later in the month



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Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Pushkin Vertigo, NetGalley, and Yukito Ayatsuji for providing me with a copy of The Decagon House Murders

Until next book, be the hummingbird!

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