i received a copy of the tattoo murder from allen and unwin nz in exchange for an honest review.
the tattoo murder review
before we get into the actual novel, i would like to point out that it’s translated from the original japanese book. most translated books aren’t written for the western mindset, and instead include various tropes and stereotypes targeted towards the native readership.
this book was also originally published in 1948, where expectations in fiction were different to what they are now. i can’t tell if it was the author or the translator, but either way, this book doesn’t feel dated. it reads like a book recently written. (i struggle reading classics as the writing style is too formal and difficult to get through. this wasn’t the case for the tattoo murder at all).
my favourite thing in mysteries is the whodunit narrative. it’s fun to work through all the potential bad guys and slowly weed out those who had nothing to do with it. my other favourite is the locked room mystery, which the tattoo murder utilised extremely well. never once did i guess the final reveal. (which i really enjoyed! it was surprising!)
the mystery itself was very well written. there was plenty of red herrings to throw the reader off. i was intrigued by all the characters that the author introduced.
my only issue with this book is that i had a hard time liking many of the characters. this is a common issue between me and translated books and nothing against the book.
overall, i think the tattoo murder is a very well written book that doesn’t feel dated in the slightest. i really enjoyed reading and trying to figure out what happened. i also loved learning a little about japanese history after world war 2.