[BOOKS] ✰ The Decagon House Murders ✺ Yukito Ayatsuji – Dcrjservices.co.uk


  • Paperback
  • 228 pages
  • The Decagon House Murders
  • Yukito Ayatsuji
  • English
  • 04 February 2017
  • 1508503737

10 thoughts on “The Decagon House Murders

  1. says:

    Are you aware of the physical space around youAsks the mad architect He will build two houses, one of Blue and one of Ten These houses will hold secrets and mysteries and murder and despair One burned to the ground, one empty but soon to be burned Are you aware of the physical space around youAsks the author, Yukito Ayatsuji He will build a novel based around concepts of space, of physical limitations and barriers Of open areas concealing closed areas the mental ones as well He will Are you aware of the physical space around youAsks the mad architect He will build two houses, one of Blue and one of Ten These houses will hold secrets and mysteries and murder and despair One burned to the ground, one empty but soon to be burned Are you aware of the physical space around youAsks the author, Yukito Ayatsuji He will build a novel based around concepts of space, of physical limitations and barriers Of open areas concealing closed areas the mental ones as well He will describe these spaces regularly and with careful precision Are you aware of the physical space around youAsks the murderer He will build a trap of one of these houses He will know the extra layers and extra walls and extra rooms just as he will know your secrets, casting a cold eye upon them He will come through these places and spaces he will murder you, he will murder you all.This is the third Japanese locked room mystery I ve read this year, and although only a star separates this one from the prior two, The Decagon House was easily my favorite of the three It lacked the labyrinthine quality of The Tokyo Zodiac Murders and the over the top melodrama of The Inugami Clan, but its clarity of purpose shades of Christie s And Then There Were None and its interesting focus on physical spaces and not just the murder house, but nearly all indoor locations made it thoroughly absorbing from beginning to end Even the blandness of its prose and the purely surface level characters worked in its favor And the reveal of the murderer genuinely shocked me One of those reveals where I had to go back and double check what I was actually reading I like that feeling


  2. says:

    A group of students arrive on a deserted island, which was the scene of a grisly murder one year priorObviously nothing goes wrong and they spend a relaxing week long vacation, talking about books they like and taking in the sun oh, wait, no, this a mystery novel Yeah, scratch that bad things happen.This is a book that notes its origins with pride The plot kicks off with a reference to Agatha Christie s And Then There Were None, and continues with loving nods including all the characters A group of students arrive on a deserted island, which was the scene of a grisly murder one year priorObviously nothing goes wrong and they spend a relaxing week long vacation, talking about books they like and taking in the sun oh, wait, no, this a mystery novel Yeah, scratch that bad things happen.This is a book that notes its origins with pride The plot kicks off with a reference to Agatha Christie s And Then There Were None, and continues with loving nods including all the characters having nicknames based on American and European mystery authors throughout The novel is a part of what is referred to in Japan as Honkaku mystery This subgenre is what typically would be referred to in English speaking countries as a locked room or fair play mystery Meaning all clues are given, so despite the improbability of the crime, you, the reader, could in theory solve it as well In fact, the book contains an absolutely fascinating introduction, giving a brief history of the Honkaku sub genre and is well worth a read I particularly liked the bit of info where they discuss that it s looked less as a literary genre andlike a game between author and reader.So, did I solve the case Well, yes and no I pretty much figured out who did it fairly early on, but I didn t figure out how so much and when the reveal hit, I had a moment where I could have applauded it view spoiler I m Van Dine was one of the biggest wham lines I ve read in a while, and genuinely had me flipping through pages trying to figure it out HOW that one happened hide spoiler So, points for a clever solution Sadly, I can t really give full praise here Remember how I said the Honkaku mystery is often thought ofas a game than a literary genre You can tell it here and it hurts it The characters are stock types, given little to no personality seriously, you may as well call them victim 1, 2, 3 etc With the exception of Ellery, who is obviously set up as our official detective in the group, everyone else is pretty much void of a personality other than one or two emotions that they express when stressed Even Ellery is such a clich of a character that I didn t really feel any real excitement about him In one way, this made it feel less like your classic mystery, andlike a slasher movie, where you just watch with curiosity on how the teens will be picked off by our killer next.This book when released was apparently one of the leaders in the resurgence of the Honkaku genre which had lost popularity with the rise of noir and police procedurals I don t know if this is because of the clever conclusion or if there was something majorly lost in translation, but I don t quite get why this would be one of the standouts Would I give it a recommendation Only to a very specific group of people To really enjoy this one, you have to be a person who enjoys the deduction aspect of a mystery novel over the plot You need to be the person who sits there puzzling over every line and trying to think outside the box those here for the story will likely leave unfulfilled, those here for the game of it, they may find something special 3 stars because I am the sort of mystery fan described above and the ending is clever enough to warrant a notation Also, as mentioned before, the introduction to the book is fascinating enough alone to warrant a read


  3. says:

    First, I want to say thank you for Sanny who introduced me with this novel, andimportantly introduced me with Honkaku mystery genre Honkaku means orthodox in Japan, and this genre keeps the whodunit mystery stories alive in Japan I admit I didn t know the existence of Honkaku mystery before I read this novel.This is an isolated island murder mystery with the clues, red herrings, and so on with climax when readers found whodunit In my opinion, the mystery and climax is good, just as expe First, I want to say thank you for Sanny who introduced me with this novel, andimportantly introduced me with Honkaku mystery genre Honkaku means orthodox in Japan, and this genre keeps the whodunit mystery stories alive in Japan I admit I didn t know the existence of Honkaku mystery before I read this novel.This is an isolated island murder mystery with the clues, red herrings, and so on with climax when readers found whodunit In my opinion, the mystery and climax is good, just as expected I expected a twist at climax, and I like the twist I was reading the last pages at the morning and still sleepy, then the climax words successfully slapped me into fully awake.I recommend this novel for whodunit stories fans If you don t know Honkaku genre, I recommend to search a bit about it, as what I have been doing for several days.EDIT NOTE I previously only mentioned the genre as Honkaku Sanny corrected me


  4. says:

    3.75 stars.This is right up my guilty pleasure alley Originally published in Japan in 1987 and only now available in English translation, this book represents a resurgence of locked room mysteries in Japan at the time It s an unmistakable homage to Agatha Christie s incomparable And Then There Were None I just love those impossible closed door mysteries of the Golden Age in which the suspects are limited and the clues are there for the reader, with no rabbit pulling at the end They are lik 3.75 stars.This is right up my guilty pleasure alley Originally published in Japan in 1987 and only now available in English translation, this book represents a resurgence of locked room mysteries in Japan at the time It s an unmistakable homage to Agatha Christie s incomparable And Then There Were None I just love those impossible closed door mysteries of the Golden Age in which the suspects are limited and the clues are there for the reader, with no rabbit pulling at the end They are like dark, dangerous puzzles, each piece illuminating a disturbing truth.This story has seven students on a private, isolated island They all belong to their university s mystery society, and as such, go by awesome nicknames like Agatha, Van Dine, Leroux, Orczy, Ellery, Carr and Poe This alone earned the book half a star for me They are intrigued to spend a week on this island because an unsolved murder suicide happened there six months previously They stay in a unique creepy house shaped like a decagon Then, as you might guess they start to drop like flies This is scary No way of escaping, or communicating with the outside world, surrounded by your increasingly dead friends, with a maniac on the loose And that maniac is likely one of your friends.The book also tells the story of what was happening on the mainland at the same time, with people who were starting to put together the idea that something very wrong was happening.And then a great twist that I didn t see coming which reveals the identity of the murderer Makes me want to go back and re read.Unfortunately, the denouement felt a little too informative rather than exciting, and that lessened my rating of the book I understand that explanation is there in order to reveal the clues that the readers could have picked up on it s also fun to re live the days on the island from the point of view of the killer There just has to be a better way of ending the book that explains the beautiful puzzle but also packs a bigger punch Also, I neededcharacter development just so I could attachof an identity to each of the people on the island I had a hard time keeping track of who they were at times.I admire that Ayatsuji took on a classic Christie there s so much love for the Golden Age mysteries in this book I would recommend this for anyone who shares that love


  5. says:

    Bad things happen Everybody dies The flatness of the prose in this novel at first bothered me and then delighted me because it freed me from that somewhat squicky feeling I often have, when reading a murder mystery, that violent death should not be quite so entertaining The characters here are nothingthan pieces on a magnificent, imaginative board game, and their lack of dimension allowed me to feel pleasure in the storytelling I lived for years in Japan and this experience made my rea Bad things happen Everybody dies The flatness of the prose in this novel at first bothered me and then delighted me because it freed me from that somewhat squicky feeling I often have, when reading a murder mystery, that violent death should not be quite so entertaining The characters here are nothingthan pieces on a magnificent, imaginative board game, and their lack of dimension allowed me to feel pleasure in the storytelling I lived for years in Japan and this experience made my reading all thedelightful The translation sounds exactly like the Japanese, to the point where many times I could know for certain what the Japanese word or phrase had originally been It felt as if the translator is not a native English speaker, or at least the translator never stepped out of literal translation, and the unusual nature of the language in the novel gave it a charged, unexpected feeling as I read The English here sounds something like Japanese native speakers who have only a fragile command of English Some of the direct translations of Japanese concepts include senior for a person who is ahead of you in the same school, or after after party, which is self explanatory but is an actual thing in Japan for that smaller, frequently drunken gathering that happens when you re too tired to go home or the trains have stopped running and you re stuck in limbo with your friends until morning comes The proper names weren t reversed to fit English usage Some words honestly seemed made up or taken from a not very good bilingual dictionary like shrubberies rather than shrubbery I m going on about it because it was an aspect of the novel that I enjoyed deeply but I m not sure how readers who haven t lived in Japan would take it Then there is the mystery itself Honestly I felt both very satisfied by the solution to the puzzle, and kind of snookered by it I didn t feel the story gave me all necessary clues throughout the novel for me to feel satisfied with the ending as it unfolded a lot of these clues instead were given after the fact, to fill in the blanks I didn t mind this however because I got such pleasure from reading this strange little book, and because of all the ways it was different from anything else I d read, and because of all the ways the language intersected with my experience of Japan


  6. says:

    Have to say that in the end I was disappointed You tell me that this book is a homage to And Then There Were None and it ends up just being kind of a mess with an ending that was nothing like that book It didn t help that Ayatsuji had some of the book following two other characters so you don t stay on the island with the characters who are being picked off one by one I do like that we were given a glossary in the end to understand some of the words being used in this book The Decagon Hous Have to say that in the end I was disappointed You tell me that this book is a homage to And Then There Were None and it ends up just being kind of a mess with an ending that was nothing like that book It didn t help that Ayatsuji had some of the book following two other characters so you don t stay on the island with the characters who are being picked off one by one I do like that we were given a glossary in the end to understand some of the words being used in this book The Decagon House Murders is a bit of a convoluted tale The book starts off with us in the murderer s POV We know that he or she has something up their sleeve to make people pay for what they did Then we transitioned over to a group of college aged students who are making their way to the Decagon House The students plan to stay on an uninhabited island for a week A brutal murder and apparent suicide took place there six months ago and due to this the students think it would be perfect for them to go and get away to All of the students belong to a mystery group at their university and they have taken the names of famous mystery writers We have the following Agatha, Van, Leroux, Orczy, Ellery, Carr and Poe While they are away on the island, a former member of the mystery group, Kawaminami receives a letter accusing him of being behind the murder of a former member named Chiori We find out that she was a shy young women who died of a heart attack brought upon due to alcohol poisoning Kawaminami starts to try to figure out who could have sent the letter and figures out ties that Chiori has to the island that the group has just departed for I have to say that I didn t get a chance to get a handle on anyone When the group on the island starts to get picked off one by one by the murderer it just started to feel anti climatic I liked how Christie did it via her book and how they were all sent to die based on a rhyme This felt a little too clumsy It didn t help that the book jumps back and forth between the murders on the island and Kawaminami s investigation with an older man he meets I think that distracted from the overall tenor of the book and it felt a bit like we had Ayatsuji trying to throw in a bit of Arthur Conan Doyle and have a Sherlock and Watson on the scene.The writing was okay, as I said earlier it was great to get the glossary in the book describing things However, the flow wasn t that great I had a hard time with the second investigation going on since it just felt really fake to me And then it made zero sense with what we know was going on, on he island.The setting of the island and the Decagon House were intriguing I liked the history behind it being built and how lonesome it must have been Ayatsuji provides some diagrams which were helpful to show where everyone is staying at and also at one point where a body is found The ending did have a cool twist, but I had a hard time buying it It didn t really work I think in the end And then the reason behind the murder felt very fake to me It just seemed like a reason for the murderer to do what they did We get a reveal about all of the murders and how they happened and it felt like that bit got written before the initial set up of the book A nice look at a Japanese golden age mystery novel I definitely enjoyed The Tokyo Zodiac Murders


  7. says:

    4.5 stars for this incredibly clever closed circle mystery originally published in Japan in the 1980s, out this year in English for the first time The book is filled with clever puzzles and a brilliant resolution, but the characters didn t draw me in enough for me to give this book a full 5 stars Highly recommended for reading when you re in the mood for a twisty mystery as opposed to deep characters University student members of a campus mystery club gather on an island in a mystery reminisc 4.5 stars for this incredibly clever closed circle mystery originally published in Japan in the 1980s, out this year in English for the first time The book is filled with clever puzzles and a brilliant resolution, but the characters didn t draw me in enough for me to give this book a full 5 stars Highly recommended for reading when you re in the mood for a twisty mystery as opposed to deep characters University student members of a campus mystery club gather on an island in a mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie s And Then There Were None and in fact this book is credited with repopularizing this style of mystery in Japan A cute homage is that the students nicknames are taken from classic mystery writers Agatha, Orczy, Ellery, Carr, Poe, Leroux, Van Dine


  8. says:

    Holly moly Totally devoured this book At first I thought it would be another lock room case, a total copy cat of the all time famous And then there were none by Dame Agatha Christie, but it turned out I was wrong D And I m happy that I m wrong When it comes to Japanese people, they are often the creative pinoneers, not the followers ha ha Back to this book, I m glad I didn t see it coming when the murderer was finally revealed Now I know why this book is considered as having o Holly moly Totally devoured this book At first I thought it would be another lock room case, a total copy cat of the all time famous And then there were none by Dame Agatha Christie, but it turned out I was wrong D And I m happy that I m wrong When it comes to Japanese people, they are often the creative pinoneers, not the followers ha ha Back to this book, I m glad I didn t see it coming when the murderer was finally revealed Now I know why this book is considered as having one of the most shocking ending in the history of Japanese detective literature


  9. says:

    Seven college students, all members of their university s mystery club, decide to spend a week on an island where, last year, a brutal and to date unsolved multiple slaying took place The island s main structure, the Blue Mansion, was destroyed by arson in connection with that earlier crime the students who bear nicknames like Ellery, Agatha, Orczy and Carr in honor of their favorite authors thus occupy the island s only other building, the Decagon House of the title.The fact that this h Seven college students, all members of their university s mystery club, decide to spend a week on an island where, last year, a brutal and to date unsolved multiple slaying took place The island s main structure, the Blue Mansion, was destroyed by arson in connection with that earlier crime the students who bear nicknames like Ellery, Agatha, Orczy and Carr in honor of their favorite authors thus occupy the island s only other building, the Decagon House of the title.The fact that this house is decagonal, the rooms inside it trapezoidal there s a helpful map in the book to explain this , doesn t really affect the plot but does convey to us quite effectively that what we re reading here is an artificial construct, a puzzle detection rather than a mimetic novel And, indeed, as we learn from the afterword, the publication of The Decagon House Murders, written originally as essentially a piece of fan fiction for the Kyoto University Mystery Club, heralded a return to fashion in Japanese crime fiction of the puzzle mystery, which had been supplanted decades earlier byrealistic fare.In early pages it s specifically acknowledged that the setup strongly resembles that in Agatha Christie s classic novel And Then There Were None, and, sure nuff, there s a murderer intent on knocking off the students one by one for reasons of revenge However, this exercise in homage is by no means a copycat exercise indeed, there s a separate, very major plot strand set simultaneously on the mainland and involving a completely different set of characters and I actually found the puzzle part of the mystery hereintriguing than albeit just as implausible as its equivalent in the Christie novel.In short, if you re into Golden Age Detection then there s a very great deal here for you to feed on not least a quasi reincarnation of one of my favorite fictional detectives, EQ But where everything else gets let down a bit is in the translation, which hobbles and stumbles where it should gracefully glide This isn t, I think, the fault of the translator but of the English language publisher, who needed to be farproactive in terms of editing and copyediting than he obviously was here.An especially egregious misjudgment occurs when Ellery for no real plot reason tantalizes the others with a few riddles based on the shapes of Japanese calligraphs Obviously these would make exactly zero sense to English language readers, so the translator has invented new, roughly equivalent riddles to take their place The trouble is that these make no sense either Since the passage concerned contributes nothing to the plot, it could easily have been omitted or completely new, this time genuinely English based riddles could have been substituted At the moment, though, the little section serves merely to irritateespecially since you have to keep flipping to the endnotes to find out what the heck the riddles are supposed to be about The Decagon House Murders, then, reminded me of the way so many self published novels that could be great are severely impaired by the lack of the final polish that professional publishers aim to supply there s a diamond within, all right, but it s hard to see it through the rough This is not the kind of book that should be the hard slog that, at least for me, it proved to be on occasion


  10. says:

    The Decagon House Murders 1987 2015 1 2This book, translated from Japanese by Ho Ling Wong, was seen as a milestone in detective fiction and the start of the shin honkaku new orthodox movement 1987 2015 228 That movement was a revival of the traditional logical reasoning detective fiction in Japan that was prevalent in the Golden Age of detective fiction in the 1920s The new movement was characterised by robot like personages game like setting and lacking literary context or s The Decagon House Murders 1987 2015 1 2This book, translated from Japanese by Ho Ling Wong, was seen as a milestone in detective fiction and the start of the shin honkaku new orthodox movement 1987 2015 228 That movement was a revival of the traditional logical reasoning detective fiction in Japan that was prevalent in the Golden Age of detective fiction in the 1920s The new movement was characterised by robot like personages game like setting and lacking literary context or significance, being purely about solving a whodunit mystery using logical reasoning Heavily influenced by Agatha Christie s And Then There Were None 1939 , The Decagon House Murders is about seven Japanese students who decide to stay on an isolated island not far from the main land in a mysterious Decagon House Some months previously there occurred on the island the mysterious deaths of the owner of the property, his wife and their two servants The students on the island are then start to be killed off in a fashion reminiscent of that in Agatha Christie s famous novel The book premise is exciting, but the book also reads like a videogame script with little character insight, context or emotion which is intentional, but may not be for everyone , and the final solution is, arguably, too unbelievable and underwhelming The story starts intriguingly Seven students five boys and two girls of K university arrive to an island not that far from the main land for a week to get some inspiration or write their own stories of mystery They are all members of the Mystery Club at their university, and the island to which they arrive is the place where horrific deaths of the owner of the house Nakamura Seiji, his wife and their two servants happened some time previously In the centre of the island is the eerie Decagon House, which is described as the decagonal trap 1987 2015 16 unbeknown to the students The seven students also do not know that there is someone who wants to harm them and what awaits them on the island is the very thing that they are so excited about when they read and write their murder mysteries Meanwhile, events also happen on the main land and the acquaintance of the seven students on the island one Kawaminami Taka aki receives a scary letter accusing him and other students of the death of another young female student who died from alcohol poisoning some time before Kawaminami starts investigating and the connection with the isolated island events is revealed.The book makes it very clear and explicit that it takes the story setting and other major elements from Christie s novel And Then There Were None It never shies away from its source material and even could be said to pay a tribute to the novel by Christie They are many obvious similarities between the two to the point where The Decagon House Murders may even be considered a parody book The setting of an isolated island, the bottle with a message, few suspects and the great design plan by the murderer revealed at the beginning are just some of theobvious similarities In fact, And Then There Were None is explicitly referenced at least twice in Ayatsuji s story, and the story also pays its indirect tribute to other traditional mysteries of the 1920s crime fiction by giving each of the seven students in the novel the nicknames of the famous mystery writers there are Ellery, Carr, Leroux, Poe, Van, Agatha and Orczy who arrive to the island For example, Agatha stands for Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime, and Leroux stands for Gaston Leroux, a famous French crime author.The Decagon House Murders is an interesting read and it is exciting not to know who the murderer is, waiting for the final reveal it is also great that the book provides diagrams plans of the isolated island and the Decagon House However, it is also true that the book has no to little literary merit, context provided or character insight Following the seven students on the island is like following seven puppets in some tacky theatrical show who get murdered without emotion or consequence since they are not alive It is probable that the book then influenced other computer, anime like book genres, maybe even including the infamous novel Battle Royal 1999 by Koushun Takami, on which The Hunger Games 2008 was based The unremarkable language used to tell the story, as well as the cold approach to story telling and murders in The Decagon House Murders is, of course, intentional, but that is not even a major problem The logic in the story can be challenged The ending is unforeseen, but the murders happen in too unbelievable a fashion, and the constant shifting between the main land events and the island occurrences does not work successfully because the island events are muchexciting Moreover, it is something outside of the picture and nearly impossible to accomplish which finally points to the solution, meaning that the ending is also underwhelming.The Decagon House Murders is a spooky and sinister tale which is interesting to read, but it is also ultimately a let down because of its own ambition, being too unbelievable in its proposed solution and not coming even close to Agatha Christie s quirky logic in And Then There Were None The book also has a narrative which quite intentionally lacks any context, emotion or character insight, being almost an anime script filled with endless dialogues and crime theorisations Its clinical style has and will have its fans, though, even despite the lack of detective fiction novelties


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The Decagon House Murderscharacters The Decagon House Murders, audiobook The Decagon House Murders, files book The Decagon House Murders, today The Decagon House Murders, The Decagon House Murders 89c40 Students From A University Mystery Club Decide To Visit An Island Which Was The Site Of A Grisly Multiple Murder The Year Before Predictably, They Get Picked Off One By One By An Unseen Murderer Is There A Madman On The Loose What Connection Is There To The Earlier Murders The Answer Is A Bombshell Revelation Which Few Readers Will See Coming The Decagon House Murders Is A Milestone In The History Of Detective Fiction Published In , It Is Credited With Launching The Shinhonkaku Movement Which Restored Golden Age Style Plotting And Fair Play Clues To The Japanese Mystery Scene, Which Had Been Dominated By The Social School Of Mystery For Several Decades It Is Also Said To Have Influenced The Development Of The Wildly Popular Anime MovementThis, The First English Edition, Contains A Lengthy Introduction By The Maestro Of Japanese Mystery Fiction, Soji ShimadaLocked Room International Discovers And Publishes Impossible Crime Masterpieces From All Over The World


About the Author: Yukito Ayatsuji

Japanese Yukito Ayatsuji is the original creator of Another He is a famous writer of mystery and Japanese detective fiction He is also one of the writers that demands restoration of the classic rules of detective fiction and the use ofself reflective elements He is married to Fuyumi Ono, author of The Twelve Kingdoms and creator of Ghost Hunt, Juuni Kokuki, and the author for a few other manga.