Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lost in Translation

The Inugami Clan: a Gothic Tale of Murder from Japan’s Master of Crime 
By:  Seishi Yokomizo
"Set in the 1940's, this is the first in a series of mysteries featuring a private detective, Kosuke Kindaichi. "The elderly patriarch of a wealthy Japanese family of the title, dies inexplicably, leaving a will that virtually ensures a bloody battle for his fortune. Kindaichi is summoned by the family’s attorney to snow-covered northern Japan, where the gore-soaked feud plays out. Slowly the family’s sordid secret history is revealed as the members are ritualistically murdered, one by one." This book was a pleasure to read because it was so "campy." One can imagine the television series, since there are 38 Chapters! And they are listed like the Victorians wrote their books, "The Blood-Colored Will"; "The Fingerprint on the Watch"; "The Blood-Spattered Button"; "The Ill-Fated Mother and Son"; and more. A list of characters, is included, which helps.

Seishi Yokomizo is Japan’s most popular mystery writer. This is the first book in the Inspector Kindaichi series.

When I read translated books, I always regret not being able to read them in the original language. Nuances are lost in translation and the story line at times seems choppy.

Paper Butterfly 

Summary: "Mei, a private investigator in Beijing, China, is approached by a record company executive when one of his rising stars goes missing. The investigation leads her to a man called Lin, who hasn’t been heard of since 1989." Lin’s story is told in flashbacks and describes the cruel conditions of the labor camps in China where Lin was imprisoned. The author, Ms Lang, took part in the protests in Tiananmen Square, so the descriptions are vivid and gives Western readers an idea of what took place. The descriptions of the cities and towns are better than the characterizations. The second part of the book brings the past, Lin, and the present Mei, together. The setting makes this a worthwhile read.
by Diane Wei Lang