Book review: 『模倣の殺意』by Sin Nakamachi

模倣の殺意 (もほうのさつい)
Title: 模倣の殺意 (もほうのさつい)
First published: 1974
Published: 2004
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 328

Sin NAKAMACHI (1935-2009) was an author of crime fiction. 『模倣の殺意』was first published in 1973 under the title “新人賞殺人事件”. In 2004, 創元推理文庫 brought this mystery novel to the public again and gave it its present title.


An introductory chapter sets the facts: A man called Masao SAKAI dies on July, 7th at 7pm. He was an author of crime fiction. His death by poisoning looks like suicide but two persons are not convinced and will investigate. We follow these two characters, the chapters alternating between one and the other.

Review: Excellent mystery!

I didn’t know Sin Nakamachi before, and I bought this book because the obi said “これはすごい!”. I must learn not to let myself be too influenced by such promotional phrases, but in this case, it was true: this book was really good.

Japanese publishers are really good at promoting their books!

First of all, the book is an excellent mystery novel with all the elements you would expect to find in good crime fiction. However, as the obi suggests, Sin Nakamachi goes further than just telling a good story. If you want to fully enjoy this novel, you will have to be an active reader and try to solve the case by yourself.

I personally love novels of crime fiction where the reader is invited to participate. The author does not let you read passively and wait for the detective to name the culprit. There are things that are strange, that don’t fit, and no matter how lazy you are, you have to investigate the matter!

As for the language level, I would say that it was very similar to Keigo Higashino. In the genre of crime/mystery fiction, Keigo Higashino is to me the easiest author to read, and『模倣の殺意』had no difficult passages or dialogues, the story was easy to follow, but you have to pay attention to details.