迷路館の殺人 ~ Murder in the Labyrinth Mansion

A novel arrives at Shimada’s door, a novel about a horrible incident that happened in another of Nakamura Seiji’s famed mansions around Japan. Shishiya Kadomi is the secret identity of one of the people involved in this tragedy and his wish is for the absolute truth to be known finally.

Miyagaki Yōtaro is among the countries most famous mystery writers. But with old age he grew more and more sick of society and retreated to his mansion. Now at the end of his life he invites his greatest disciples and the most trusted critics to his deathbed to discuss with them what shall become of the heritage of the Miyagaki estate. Along with them famous hobby detective Shimada has been invited and so an air of mystery hangs over the strange Labyrinth Mansion.
Within it’s twisting bowels Miyagaki has already died. But he thought up a twisted plan to decide his successor among his pupils. They are to write their greatest murder mystery within and about the Labyrinth Mansion. The only common point they have to integrate is that the author him or herself has to become the first victim of this novel.
Will someone truly win this contest or is the famed Minotaur from old legends already after their blood?This is my 4th novel by Ayatsuji Yukito already and I’m not growing tired of him. Somehow he actually manages to insert a twist into the classic 館モノ and make it fascinating. This time he made it a meta mystery, forcing you to doubt all the time whether what you just read really happened or is a fabrication of the mysterious author. Still he actually managed to insert all the hints necessary to deduce the culprit and make it suspenseful and chilling at the same time.

The story is much more action packed than the more mystery oriented suishakan and it is constructed even more like a rollercoaster ride through a haunted house attraction than any of the books before it. You can actually see how Ayatsuji always took a different approach to the mansions in his stories and never made them be too similar.

It’s hard for me to say which one is actually better, but this one was at least more chilling. At some points it gave me goosebumps when I imagined myself being in the situation the characters were in.
The twists at the end were well made but not too abrupt so that nobody could see them coming. It depends on how you approach the story whether or not you are able to solve the mysterious of this labyrinth, because not only the house is one, but the story as well.

I can really see how he came to the point to write kirigoeyashiki just a little bit later.
Many things are quite similar, but I’m still eager to see if there is that final polish in the next installment 人形館の殺人. It’s also funny thinking back and realizing how many staples of 新本格 can be found in Ayatsuji’s works and how I found many things in 霧越邸 that I only read about recently, that just shows that those elements are really there and it’s so exciting to see them develop in the series of an author.
I can’t wait for August when the revised version of 人形館 comes out.

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~ by seizonsha on 2010/07/26.

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