“The Honjin Murders” is a classic murder mystery in which a newly married couple are found butchered by a Japanese sword inside a room locked from the inside. With the family at a loss and the locals spreading rumors of a mysterious three-fingered stranger, the uncle of the bride calls in Japan’s own Sherlock Holmes, Kosuke Kindaichi. The detective’s unkempt appearance and often profound stammer belies a deductive mind that allows him to solve cases that stump the pros.

Comparisons with Holmes are justified, both in the character of Kindaichi and Yokomizo’s approach to storytelling — mixing clues, red herrings and fascinating social insight before drawing back the curtain to reveal the truth. They are also unsurprising, given how much Yokomizo wears his influences on his sleeve: One character even boasts a library stocked with “every book of mystery or detective fiction ever published in Japan.”

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