MYSTERY

The Aosawa Murders

Bitter Lemon. Feb. 2020. 346p. ISBN 9781912242245. pap. $14.95. M
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The Aosawa family is hosting a birthday party at the prominent hospital they own, located in a villa on the Sea of Japan, when tragedy strikes. After everyone gathers to make a celebratory toast, it is clear that they have all been poisoned. Seventeen people, guests and family members, die. The only one who is spared is the family’s blind daughter, Hisako. A scrap of cryptic verse is also left on the scene. As the investigation unfolds, the lead suspect dies by suicide, sealing his guilt, but also ensuring that his motive is never discovered. The mystery is told through a series of interviews: there’s an author who wrote about the Aosawa murders, the police inspector, and other people connected with the family and the party. In her first work translated into English, Mystery Writers of Japan Award winner Onda gives mystery readers a modern-day Rashomon story using the voices of witnesses and suspects in a finely crafted and intricate novel.
VERDICT A chilling and skillfully crafted mystery about the spellbinding spaces between evidence, facts, intuition, and the will of a killer.

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