The Devil’s Flute Murders

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Pub Date 4 Jul 2023 | Archive Date 10 Aug 2023
Pushkin Press, Pushkin Vertigo

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“Yokomizo at his absolute best... From the ominous opening through the brilliant final reveal, [he] ably blends suspense and fair-play detection... A classic of the genre.”  —Publishers Weekly, starred review

An ingenious classic locked-room murder mystery about the feuding family of a composer that’s perfect for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware, and Anthony Horowitz

This standalone novel features the scruffy sleuth Kosuke Kindaichi—the most famous Japanese detective—created by one of Japan's greatest crime writers: Seishi Yokomizo, the “Japanese Agatha Christie”

Locked room mysteries are hot again, and this classic from the golden age of crime presents a mind-bending Japanese mystery from the great Seishi Yokomizo, whose fictional detective Kosuke Kindaichi is a pop culture phenomenon akin to Sherlock Holmes.

This time the beloved scruffy sleuth Kosuke Kindaichi investigates a series of gruesome murders within the feuding family of a brooding, troubled composer, whose most famous work chills the blood of all who hear it.

Readers will be totally engrossed by one of Yokomizo’s most clever guessing games, in which everyone has something to hide…
“Yokomizo at his absolute best... From the ominous opening through the brilliant final reveal, [he] ably blends suspense and fair-play detection... A classic of the genre.”  —Publishers Weekly...

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ISBN 9781782278849
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Featured Reviews

LOVE YOKOMIZO. The writing is on point. I thought this one was decent plot-wise. He's just able to capture grimy Tokyo in a way that's very unique and special.

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Japan's answer to Hercule Poirot returns in the fifth translation of Yokomizo's Kosuke Kindaichi novels. The detective is called in by the family of an aristocrat and flautist, who disappeared and was found dead some time later. Shortly before his disappearance, he composed a strange and horrible piece of music - 'The Devil Comes and Plays the Flute'. Now his family are convinced he may not be dead, the melody haunts them, and it's possible it may all be connected to a mass murder and robbery at a Tokyo jewellers. Soon the body count is mounting and Kindaichi must identify the 'devil' who is behind it all.

Like most of the novels, it features a large, feuding family and takes advantage of an immediate post-war setting and all the opportunities that offers for false identities, missing people and destroyed evidence. The setting is somewhat eerie, in a grand house left standing in an area largely flattened by bombing. As you'd expect from such a mystery, there's a whole host of possible suspects, but no one more obvious than anyone else. Investigations are hampered by post war shortages, transport chaos and the literal obliteration of some of the places the want to visit.

I didn't guess who did it any faster than Kindaichi, which is somewhat unusual for me these days and always a bonus. It is an intriguing plot and as always I enjoy the Japanese postwar setting and learning little bits about the culture of that place and time. Yokomizo is perhaps not as ground-breakingly inventive as Agatha Christie, but he writes a good, solid and very readable story. As always, the translation is excellent and they manage to find ways to make clues work that must have been more challenging in a language other than Japanese.

I would recommend this novel, and all of the others in the series (it is not necessary to read them in order), to fans of detective and mystery fiction. It's also a must-read for anyone with an interest in Japanese history and culture.

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It's the first time for me to read Seishi Yokomizo's book in English, and I loved it! A 5 star read for sure. 😊

A few words on the plot, the book opened with the Tengindo incident, inspired by the Teigin incident, which led to Viscount Tsubaki's suicide. Six months later, his daughter showed up at Kindaichi's place and claiming that his father is still alive. After multiple murders of the family members, Kindaichi solved the case and revealed the family's dark past.

I just love this book, I've read it so many times before and will continue to re-read it. Very happy to see the English copy with an amazing translation finally coming out. The formula is the same throughout Seishi Yokomizo's Kindaichi series, a complicated case, multiple victims, and a super dysfunctional family.

Looking forward to get a paper copy when it goes on sale.

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The Devil's Flute Murders was definitely a stronger entry for me than the past two books in the series. In this book, Kindaichi is approached by a young woman named Mineko who involves him in a convoluted case associated with her not-so-long-ago aristocratic family. Mineko's father, Viscount Tsubaki is supposed to have committed suicide but it seems that his ghost is haunting their family, especially her mother Akiko. Tsubaki was also briefly a suspect in a horrific killing spree, but was later set free. And what about the haunting melody that was the viscount's last creation? Why does someone keep playing it whenever the viscount's ghost makes an appearance? As Kindaichi takes the case, he has to see three more people lose their lives before he can reach at the heart of this mystery that was set into motion a long time ago.

The Japanese morals and ideals of that time play an important role in the plot, which is sure to keep its readers engaged. However, I have to say I am getting a little tired of the writer's writing style, who makes the detective as well as the other characters gasp, sigh so many times. Multiple times a chill keeps running down their spines and their surprised expressions are becoming too cliched and seem to repeat in the story too often. Apart from these minor niggles, a good novel.

Thanks to Netgalley and Pushkin Vertigo for the review copy.

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The Devil's Flute Murders is the latest very welcome addition to Pushkin Press's series of translations of the work of Seishi Yokomizo.
As ever there is a labyrinthine plot set in post war Japan and a cast of suspects ranging from the sinister to the bizarre as a member of a fading aristocratic family is seen more than once by members of his family after his supposed death and the positive identification of his corpse.

Yokomizo's protagonist Kosuke Kindaichi..... a cross between Hercule Poirot and for ,those old enough to remember, Columbo ...... is asked for his views and invited to a divination, basically a seance ,by a member of the allegedly late aristocrat's family. While exploring one death Kindaichi finds himself at the scene of another..........which is far from the last one in the book.

What I love about Yokomizo's books is that he doesn't just describe his characters, he weaves a whole history around them and in the case of the extended family in this tale it's a convoluted and rather sordid one.
There is a cast of characters listed at the front of the book thankfully,as at the beginning I struggled with an ever-expanding rollcall of Japanese names as the tale unfolded . This isn't a book to rush either as the twists and turns often involve people, places and events from different timelines and the family relations..and relationships,are complex to say the very least.

Clever,entertaining and great fun.

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This is my 1st Seishi Yokomizo book I read, WELL I AM IN AWE. Since the twist is somewhat stunning, the crimes themselves weren't as vicious as you are led to assume. Please take a note for the details cause this is not the kinda simple mystery book you're looking for. I might try to read another Detective Kindaichi's books for sure, ofc.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.

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Another fantastic offering from the reprinted Pushkin Vertigo series with an exquisite work of translation. Once again the unkempt and imperturbable Detective Kosuke Kindaichi is investigating a locked room mystery with his usual air of insouciance. I love this series of mysteries and this offering is the best yet. I also have to give kudos to the funky cover artwork and jacket material. Fab stuff.

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My circle continues to widen. I've found Yokomizo.

Apparently he has flooded Japan with whodunnits in the same vein like Conan Doyle and Christie. So I'm quite pleased to have found him.

This book finds us in 1940's Japan in the aftermath of WWII with a locked room mystery together with a lot of twists and turns and red herrings poking out here and there. Lovely stuff for those who like it like I do. And yes I can confirm that Yokomizo does create that sort of vibe which remind me of Sherlock and Christies' books. We have great atmosphere building, great pacing and tragedy upon tragedy, here too sin does not sleep.

An ARC gently provided by Pushkin Vertigo via Edelweiss and Netgalley.

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