Author Edogawa Rampo’s complete list of books and series in order, with the latest releases, covers, descriptions and availability. Edogawa Rampo (pseudonym of Hirai Tarō, –) is the acknowledged grand master of Japan’s golden age of crime and mystery fiction. In the early part . large and growing body of native-grown mystery fiction that dates back to the s. Defining J-Horror: The erotic, grotesque ‘nonsense’ of Edogawa Rampo.
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Edogawa Rampo is one of the founding fathers of Japanese detective novels. A prolific writer, he wrote over one hundred and fifty short stories and novels in his long career.
Like many famous Japanese novelists, he attended Waseda University but studied economics rather than English Literature. Influenced by early translations of Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe, he became fond of the gritty, dark nature of western murder mysteries.
This is apt given both authors exhibit rampp penchant for the grotesque and macabre that can at times discomfort the reader.
There are four cases in all. The first, Murder on D Hill, begins by listing the facts of the case in the style of a police report.
Edogawa Ranpo – Wikipedia
As rumours circulate of women appearing at the bathhouse covered in bruises, the wife of a bookshop owner is found strangled to death. Both here and in The Dwarf, we find that Akechi takes little pleasure in discovering the murderer and actually sympathises with the culprit. In The Black Hand Gang a string of abductions and robberies have the city on edge. This case is the weakest of the collection and its resolution involves a cryptogram based entirely on the Japanese writing system, which gets somewhat lost in translation and will be incomprehensible on anyone not familiar with Japanese.
The Ghost, ostensibly the story of a haunting, stands apart from the other cases.
When his fierce rival dies, the successful and wealthy businessman Hirata believes that he can rest easy. His peace, however, is disturbed when he receives a letter from the edoagwa man, promising that he will kill him from the afterlife.
The Dwarf is the longest and strongest detective story of the four.
It does a good job of leading the reader down various avenues of thought, only to be dropped back at the edge of the maze. Amongst the backdrop rammpo a night of vagrancy, arrests and dirt, the narrator sees a dwarf drop a human hand out of his pocket.
Following him, he sees the dwarf enter a temple. Returning the next day, however, he finds no-one in the temple or in the local rajpo has ever seen him. Soon after, as a young girl is reported missing, a human arm is found affixed to a mannequin in a department store. When the fingerprints match with those of the missing girl, everyone assumes the worst.
Throughout the story it is the dwarf who is the contemptible one, his unseemly appearance acting only to highlight his rampoo uglier character. While The Dwarf does do a good job of building tension and deceiving the reader until the last, the other three stories feel rushed, the revelation of clues feeling more like a statement of facts rather than a source of surprise. A few spelling and grammar mistakes also break the flow of the narrative, along with some confusing dialogue where the interlocutor is not clear.
Lovers of bizarre mysteries and the grotesque may find something to love here and The Dwarf, in particular, is a sound and sometimes intriguing story.
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Defining J-Horror: The erotic, grotesque ‘nonsense’ of Edogawa Rampo
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