Summer wrap up

I have been in a long reading and blogging slump this Summer, so I haven’t read much and haven’t updated my blog either. On top of it, my computer broke, which made go back to blogging even more difficult.

Now I am finally back with a new set up, and I will start with a quick wrap up of the Summer before catching up with my book reviews.

DNF: 『占星術殺人事件』by Soji Shimada (島田総司)

Let’s start with a DNF… I have tried to read 『占星術殺人事件』by Soji Shimada. I really wanted to love this book, because it is the first novel of a long series and I was planning on reading the whole series, but I could only read around 150 pages before giving up.

The reason why I could not get into the story is the way it is told: two protagonists discuss a series of crimes that happened in 1936. They use different documents and go through the different cases, discussing what could have occurred, examining the crime scene as described in the documents, checking the suspects alibis and so on. This is exactly what I love in detective stories, but it was incredibly dry as well. We know very little about the characters involved because they are just names in a file, we don’t really know them.

The first 150 pages were so dry that I lost interest in the story. The intellectual challenge of cracking the mystery is not enough to get me involved. I also need to care for the characters and feel that there is a real story unfolding instead of just going through an enumeration of facts.

Maybe I’ll give it another try later, but for now this stays on my DNF pile.

Kogoro Akechi: July and August: 『吸血鬼』and 『人間豹』by Edogawa Rampo (江戸川乱歩)

I have read the 7th and 8th book of the Kogoro Akechi collection, and it is hard to believe that there are only 4 books remaining now. My goal for 2021 is to read one book a month and while I fell behind schedule this past couple of months, I will try to keep the pace for the remaining four books.

Both books were good, I loved 『吸血鬼』which has become one of my favourite books of the series. The other one, 『人間豹』was also good, though not as engrossing.

In both books, we find recurring characters like Fumiyo, Akechi’s partner in life and work (she is often described as a female detective), and the young Kobayashi who works as Akechi’s assistant. I really love seeing these two characters forming a solid team around Akechi. I find that seeing recurring characters is part of the joy of reading a series. Hopefully, they will be there in the next 4 books as well.

『ひと』by Fuminori Onodera (小野寺史宜)

I managed to finish 『ひと』by Fuminori Onodera. I loved it at first, but soon the book turned out to be very different from what I was expecting, and I had a hard time finishing it. As as result, it took me one month to complete it, although it is a short and easy read.

I thought it would be a book on the difficulties to find one’s place in society when one does not fit in a predetermined pattern anymore, but it is more a heart-warming (I am almost tempted to say naive) story showing that there are always good people to help you when you are struggling.

It is a nice story, but it really was not for me.

Currently reading: 『ベスト8ミステリーズ2017』compiled by the Mystery Writers of Japan (日本推理作家協会).

This is a collection of short stories compiled by the Mystery Writers of Japan (日本推理作家協会). I didn’t know it before, but they apparently publish an anthology every year. I have the 2017 edition and the short stories I have read so far are excellent. I will definitely buy the other editions as well.

It is a good way to discover new authors!

Currently reading: 『完全犯罪に猫は何匹必要か?』by Tokugawa Higashigawa (東川篤哉)

I also started the 3rd book in the Ikagawa series: 『完全犯罪に猫は何匹必要か』. The title is very intriguing, but I must say that I am not particularly thrilled by the book so far. The criminal case looks appealing as always, but I find it hard to go through the lighter, comical parts of the novel. I am only at the beginning though so we’ll see!

Goals for the upcoming months: read the books I bought this year!

I have a big pile of books I bought this year but still haven’t read… My goal now is to (try to) read them all before the end of 2021. I still have 4 months left, so it should be feasible. I went through my shelves, and this is what will keep me busy this autumn: