This is nothing like your typical crime novel. Inspector Imanishi diligently follows up every lead and mislead until he puts everything together. And his partner, Yoshimura, is so earnest that you wouldn't expect to find him in a serious mystery. But he fits in perfectly. Matsumoto's prose is beautiful, and I loved the change of pace from all the hard boiled detectives we love and get most of the time. - randy
In the wee hours of a 1960s Tokyo morning, a dead body is found under the rails of a train, and the victim's face is so badly damaged that police have a hard time figuring out the victim's identity. Only two clues surface: an old man, overheard talking in a distinctive accent to a young man, and the word "kameda." Inspector Imanishi leaves his beloved bonsai and his haiku and goes off to investigate--and runs up against a blank wall. Months pass in fruitless questioning, in following up leads, until the case is closed, unsolved. But Imanishi is dissatisfied, and a series of coincidences lead him back to the case. Why did a young woman scatter pieces of white paper out of the window of a train? Why did a bar girl leave for home right after Imanishi spoke to her? Why did an actor, on the verge of telling Imanishi something important, drop dead of a heart attack? What can a group of nouveau young artists possibly have to do with the murder of a quiet and "saintly" provincial old ex-policemen? Inspector Imanishi investigates.
About the Author
Native of Fukuoka Prefecture and prolific writer of socially oriented detective and mystery fiction, Matsumoto debuted as a writer after reaching the age of forty with the historically based Saigo Takamori Chits, 1950, and The Legend of the Kokura Diary, 1952. He then went on to establish his unique style of detective fiction with the works The Walls Have Eyes, 1957, and Points and Lines, 1958. Matsumoto made a name for himself as the writer of suspense novels that were accesible to all kinds of readership, but it was his historical novel The Ogura Diary Chronicles that earned him The 28th Akutagawa Prize, the Japanese equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The popular Japanese TV show "Black Leather Notebook" was based on his novel of the same name, and several of his detective fiction works have been published in the US (SoHo Crime and Kodansha International).