Book review: 『長い長い眠り』by Shoji Yuki

Cover of 長い長い眠り. Cover illustration: A green background with several objects drawn on it: a shirt and pants, glasses, a handwritten message, a lamp…
Title: 長い長い眠り (ながいながいねむり)
First published: 1960
Series Number: 2
Page Count: 286
When a body is found in Meiji Jingu Gakuen, the police is confronted with an unusual problem: some elements point to a suicide, while others point to a murder. These conflicting elements puzzle the police, and the victim’s identity is still unknown…

This is the second book in the Sergeant Gohara series, and it is very similar to the first one, so if you liked ひげのある男たち, you will certainly like 長い長い眠り.

While this novel retains some of the humorous tone of its predecessor, it is not as exaggerated as the first one (I am referring to the omnipresence of the moustache in ひげのある男たち), and even Gohara himself seemed a bit less eccentric (he had 17 dogs in the first novels, but only 6 in this one). This being said, he is still unsatisfied with his younger colleagues, which seems to be a trait of his personality.

The case in itself was quite engrossing. Jealousy, money, cheating and deceitfulness… once a web of suspects is established, the motivations are quite classic for this type of novels. The investigation progresses through dialogues with the witnesses and suspects rather than action, there are a lot of reflexions and analysis. I really like how Gohara will discuss the case with his colleagues or take a notebook to sum up what the police knows so far, including a list of suspects, their alibis and motives.


I cannot say for sure that the novel gives the reader all the necessary information to find the culprit (because I did not find the solution), but I think it does. This novel rewards the reader who does not just follow the police investigation passively but who tries to make connections and pays attention to everything. When the solution was revealed, I found that it felt obvious all of a sudden, even though I was unable to see it.

I personally really love the Sergeant Gohara series, it has just the right amount of humour, it gives the reader all the information that the police has access to and rewards those who read actively.

Other books by this author:
夜の終わる時 (よるのおわるとき)
ひげのある男たち (ひげのあるおとこたち)1
Cover of 中のいい死体. Cover illustration: several objects are drawn on an orange background: grapes, a police hat, a bag of medicine and a comb.3