Tokyo, Japan

‘Murder in the Crooked House’ by the Japanese master of post-modern whodunnits, Soji Shimada, chosen as one of the best titles published in 2019

Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, on sale at one of Kinokuniya’s bookshops in Tokyo. Photo: Red Circle Authors Limited.
The English edition, published in June last year, of Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, has been chosen as one of the ‘Best Books of 2019’ in the category of Traditional Mysteries by the influential US publication CrimeReads

CrimeReads writes in its annual ranking that: “in the midst of a Golden Age revival” its list of the top ten titles for 2019 “celebrates the best in traditional mystery” and that Murder in the Crooked House, published in English translation by Pushkin Vertigo, “is filled with puzzling crimes—and even more puzzling architecture.” 

“In a wintry chateau that feels like it was inspired by German Expressionist set design, a murder has taken place. Detectives arrive just before a snowstorm cuts the whole mansion off from the outside world, for a locked room mystery that’s bound to satisfy traditional mystery fans and armchair travelers alike,” CrimeReads writes. 

The award-winning author Shimada, who originally wanted to become a painter but turned instead to reinventing the art of mystery writing, is very well known and highly regarded in Japan, his native country, where he has won the prestigious Japan Mystery Literature Award. 

His name, however, is not yet a household or familiar name outside Japan, especially in the English-speaking world, despite his debut novel, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, translated by Ross Mackenzie and Shika Mackenzie, being ranked internationally as one of the very best of its genre ever written. This is at last starting to change. 

English translation editions of novels by Soji Shimada on sale at Kinokuniya’s Tokyo bookshop. Photo: Red Circle Authors Limited
CrimeReads selection of the English translation of Murder in the Crooked House, which was originally published in Japanese in 1982, as one of the best titles published in 2019, is another important example of international reviewers falling in love with ‘Japan’s Man of Mystery’, Shimada, and his unfathomable ingenious plots, highlighting his growing international reputation.

Later this year, Red Circle will publish an original new work by Shimada in its critically acclaimed Red Circle Minis series. This new work will be published in English translation before any other language including Japanese as part of Red Circle Authors Limited’s English-first publishing strategy.

John Clegg, poet and bookseller, pointing at the three first Minis in the series Red Circle Minis on sale at the London Review Bookshop (LRB). Photogragh: Red Circle Authors Limited.
  • RedCircle
    About Red Circle:
    Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit:
    • Soji Shimada
      About Soji Shimada:
      Soji Shimada is the master of postmodern whodunnits who originally wanted to become a painter turned instead to reinventing the art of mystery writing. His debut novel, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, now ranked among the top five best locked-room mysteries published worldwide, became an instant classic, transforming him into Japan’s Man of Mystery and one of the country's bestselling authors.