Mystery novel donation at Yokosuka MWR Library will let you discover Japan in unique way

Mystery novel donation at Yokosuka MWR Library will let you discover Japan in unique way

by Alvin DeWalt
Stripes Japan

Just in time for your summer reading, a donation of books to the Yokosuka MWR Library’s Japanese section will take you on mysterious journeys around the country.

These powerful novels are much more than the typical "Who done It?" novels. There are a few masterfully crafted classic, "Locked Room" genre, but they are merely the background landscape in an insightful view of Japanese culture, history, and traditions.

I've lived in Japan for 24 years now and have travelled through much of Japan. Yet, reading these novels are something like my hikes along the remote regions of the Michinoku Coastal Trail. I've been places and seen things that very few people visiting, or even living in Japan experience. I feel something similar immersing myself in these novels.

Yokomizo Seishi, the king of the golden age of crime novels in Japan, writes historical mysteries, from long ago in Japan, taking place in rural areas, rich with local descriptions. He created detective Kosuke Kindaichi, his most popular character. Several of his works have also been adapted into film.

Then, there's the currently popular Higashino Keigo, whose Detective Galileo series, has been made into films, as well. Galileo is a quirky, but methodical university science professor. He solves cases as a consultant to the Japanese police. His insights into logic are impressive, at the same time he uncovers what is hidden in the hearts of the other characters.

Shimada Soji crafts mysteries that directly challenge the reader to attempt a solution. Clues pop up like obstacles or rewards in a video game, and are often just that, ready to destroy your theories or give you another tool. These stories with all their twists and turns, both in clues and characters, are a maze for the reader to struggle through.

I just finished very thick set by a modern writer, Takamura Kaoru, The Lady Joker, Volumes 1 and 2. She takes you into the lives of elite corporate leaders, shadowy yakuza, inquisitive news reporters, and ordinary salary workers and weaves it into tale rich with questions of social justice in Japan.

I have donated twenty-three and counting and they are placed in the Japanese section of the Yokosuka MWR Library, just in time for your summer reading.

I promise that once you start, you will want to read them all. (Except for maybe two I didn't care for)

Alvin DeWalt is a retired DODEA teacher who has lived in Japan 23 years. He served in the Navy as an ETN3 from 1969-1972. DeWalt is also a member of the Japan Backgammon Society. Learn more about the group here.

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