Mini Classic Murder Mystery Reviews

Back with another mini-book review! This time we are talking about some classic crime books.

Tokyo Express – Seicho Matsumoto

  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Murder Mystery
  • No. of pages: 160
  • Dates read: 28.02.2023 – 01.03.2023
  • Star Rating: 2.5 stars

Plot: In a rocky cove in the bay of Hakata, the bodies of a young and beautiful couple are discovered. Stood in the coast’s wind and cold, the police see nothing to investigate: the flush of the couple’s cheeks speaks clearly of cyanide, of a lovers’ suicide. But in the eyes of two men, Torigai Jutaro, a senior detective, and Kiichi Mihara, a young gun from Tokyo, something is not quite right. Together, they begin to pick at the knot of a unique and calculated crime…

I was really looking forward to getting into this book as I hadn’t read much classic Japanese crime in a long time and this book was quite short so I was excited to dedicate my day off to reading it.

It started off really strong with a solid first couple of chapters and some interesting characters. I could truly picture the cove where the bodies were found and I could picture Hakata perfectly.

But then as the story progressed the plot started to get more complicated. Which is fine, in most circumstances, I love a complicated plot that makes me think. Until I’m looking at like 5 different transport timetables with different location names, train times and dates. Then I was just outright confused. I found it too hard to follow. The entire middle section just went past in a bit of blur and boredom as I watched Mihara running around checking all sorts of times etc.

The ending was definitely more satisfying and I enjoyed the Cat and Mouse element of the latter half of the story but I was truly lost throughout most of the novel.

Whose Body? – Dorothy L. Sayers (Re-Read)

  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Murder Mystery
  • No. of pages: 214
  • Dates read: 02.03.2023 – 04.03.2023
  • Star Rating: 3.5 stars

Plot: It was the body of a tall stout man. On his dead face, a handsome pair of gold pince-nez mocked death with grotesque elegance. The body wore nothing else. Lord Peter Wimsey knew immediately what the corpse was supposed to be. His problem was to find out whose body had found its way into Mr Alfred Thipp’s Battersea bathroom.

Now, I am not a massive re-reader. I don’t tend to go back to books after I have read them. Last year, I listened, on audiobook, to the entire Lord Peter Wimsey series and I loved it. Having finished the series at the end of the Summer I knew I wanted to read the physical books in the new year. I was intrigued to see how my experience was comparing the audiobook and the physical one.

I will preface and say the audio collection was dramatisations made for radio and not direct word-for-word readings of the book itself. Though loads of dialogue and paragraphs were exactly what was written in the book.

What this book, first and foremost, made me realise was just how accurate the adaptations were of these books. I found myself recalling paragraphs that were said word-for-word in the book. Letters that were written were accurately used in the audio version which just made me appreciate the incredible writing team.

In terms of difference, I will say the first half took me a bit of time to get into compared to when I listened to it. But the second half blew me away. I got goosebumps just as much as I did when I listened to it for the first time.

I found the dialogue to be super realistic and fun to read. I loved the way Lord Peter talked, the way he acted, and his brain processes. I mean the entire chapter where he figures everything was just impeccable writing.

I really enjoyed reading the book again and look forward to continuing the series.

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