The Japanese are big fans of mysteries of the puzzle-plot sort, with murders committed in the kinds of odd and ingenious ways that real killers seldom use. The detective hero not only cracks the case, but delivers a detailed postmortem to an appreciative audience, somewhat like a chess master analyzing an opponent's flawed middle game.

Based on a novel by Kanae Minato, whose fiction also inspired the hit 2010 film "Kokuhaku (Confessions)," Yoshihiro Nakamura's new film "Shirayuki Hime Satsujin Jiken (The Snow White Murder Case)" would seem to be in this brain-teasing line.

First, there is the corpse of the lovely Noriko Miki (Nanao), found stabbed and charred in the woods of a national park. An OL (office lady) at a cosmetics company, she was renowned for her beauty, as well as rumored to be sleeping with her handsome, conceited boss Shinoyama (Nobuaki Kaneko).