- ASIN : B0714J93TC
- Translated by Ho-Ling Wong
- Publisher : Locked Room International (May 29, 2017)
- Stories published originally between 1932 and 1947
- Language : English
- Print length : 206 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 154305742X
Although the Japanese form of Golden Age detective fiction was re-launched in the early 1980s as shin honkaku by Soji Shimada and Yukito Ajatsuji, the original honkaku dates from the 1930s and one of its pioneers was Keikichi Osaka. The Ginza Ghost is a collection of twelve of his best stories, almost all impossible crimes. Although the solutions are strictly fair-play, there is an unreal, almost hallucinatory quality to them.
Osaka, who died tragically young, was an early pioneer and master of the genre, whose work is only now starting to be re-discovered.
This collection of stories was recently brought to my attention by a fellow blogger at A Crime is Afoot. The stories are essentially mysteries, not necessarily murders. Most of them present "impossible" scenarios, with unusual/unpredictable solutions, some featuring illusions or ghosts.
- THE HANGMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT STORE, 1932, debut work featuring detective Kyosuke Aoyama
- THE PHANTASM OF THE STONE WALL, 1935, Kyosuke Aoyama
- THE MOURNING LOCOMOTIVE, 1934
- THE MONSTER OF THE LIGHTHOUSE, 1935
- THE PHANTOM WIFE, 1947, published posthumously
- THE MESMERISING LIGHT, 1936
- THE COLD NIGHT'S CLEARING, 1936
- THE THREE MADMEN, 1936
- THE GUARDIAN OF THE LIGHTHOUSE, 1936
- THE DEMON IN THE MINE, 1937
- THE HUNGRY LETTER-BOX, 1939
- THE GINZA GHOST, 1936
These stories could have been written in any language, but at the same time you are aware that the settings are a "different" culture, and notes are provided to explain Japanese weights and measures, as well as cultural terms. The ones that stick with me are THE HANGMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT STORE, where a thief is "hoist on his own petard", THE MOURNING LOCOMOTIVE, about a train that keeps killing people, and THE THREE MADMEN, which is truly horrific.
My rating: 4.3