Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seicho Matsumoto
After reading Under the Midnight Sun, I was eager to try more Japanese mysteries. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many that have been translated into English. Even more unfortunately, this book was not that great. I had expected a fast-paced page turner, but this story was slow and didn’t really read like a whodunnit.
1) “It was a supplement, a folded color map entitled ‘A Guide to Japan’s Famous Hot Spring Areas.’ Imanishi lay down and held the map above his head, his attention drawn to the northeastern region of Japan.”
Perhaps the best part of this book was the overview of the different regions of Japan, which came in handy since I was planning a trip. Instead of holding a map above my head, I held my phone over my head, zooming in and out on Google Maps.
2) “‘We go on various business trips like this. And afterward, rather than the scenery or problems I might have encountered, what I remember is the food.'” – Yoshimura
This. And smell. The lemon W Bliss soap bar will forever trigger memories of Dallas. And the pungent smell of the Beijing airport is truly unforgettable.
3) “‘After supper, he said he was tired and went to sleep without even taking a bath. That made the people think that he was quite odd.'” – the station chief
The only way to settle the shower at night vs morning debate is to shower twice a day.
4) “‘What? No, Father didn’t have a Tohoku accent.'” – Miki Shokichi
The first half of the mystery inexplicably revolves around an accent. Random thought: is being able to distinguish accents the best indicator for whether you know a language? (Actually no, since I can tell different Mandarin accents apart.)
5) “One of the pleasures in his life was to lie in bed and read the newspaper as he smoked.”
Waking up without an alarm, realizing you have no plans, and then reading in bed – sans smoking – is indeed amazing.
6) “‘Would you ask the conductor the exact times buses stop here around eight o’clock at night?'” – Imanishi
I appreciate the subtle implication that buses actually arrive on schedule.
7) “‘Besides, she ate the whole tangerine. It was so sour, I couldn’t eat mine at all.'” – Imanishi’s sister
100% accurate predictor of pregnancy.
8) “The shop owner pulled an unwieldy large abacus toward her and began figuring their bill.”
The author really portrays what life was like in the 60s. The story is much more realistic, mundane, and boring than most mysteries.
9) “‘The previews are more interesting than the movies, aren’t they?'” – Imanishi’s wife
There are two opposing effects. Yes trailers are supposed to be the most exciting parts of a movie, but most movies are bad. Therefore, on average, I’m not sure the previews are better than a movie I’ve chosen to watch.
10) “‘I just checked the files, but that request form is one that we only keep for five years, so it has already been disposed of.'” – the clerk
TTL should be set to infinity.
My biggest complaint about this book is that there were too many characters, and I couldn’t follow who was who. The problem was partially because I don’t really process Japanese names, but I also felt that most characters were not well developed. By the end, I had lost track of the characters and generally felt meh about the ridiculous ending. Overall, disappointed.