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Old 04-19-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Takagi Akimitsu and the Crossroads of Destiny


So, I was looking for some good closed room murder mysteries. Most of the lists I came across listed off nothing but English and French novelists, so imagine my surprise when, towards the very tail end of the list of entrants for a 1981 ranking of the Top 15 closed room murder mysteries of all time, I see a distinctly Japanese name, Akimitsu Takagi, with a rather old publishing date, 1948. I decide to look into the guy's book and, unable to find a Wikipedia page for it, I settle for the one on the author instead. I then read this and decided it curious enough to share with you guys.

On the recommendation of a fortune-teller, he decided to become a writer. He sent the second draft of his first detective story, The Tattoo Murder Case, to the great mystery writer Edogawa Ranpo, who recognized his skill and who recommended it to a publisher. It was published in 1948.
This is a fascinating little story. First of all, some information. Edogawa Ranpo, as you can see by clicking the link, is one of Japan's most famous mystery novelists of all time. He is essentially Japan's equivalent to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Indeed, his star character, Akechi Kogorou, is a household name in Japan as synonymous with "detective" as the name "Sherlock Holmes" is in English. So it's a pretty big deal to send your manuscript to Mr. Edogawa, just like it'd be a big deal to send your manuscript to Sir Arthur, and for him to think so highly of it that he recommends it to a publisher and helps you to get it published posthaste. Second of all, the obvious: it's pretty interesting that Mr. Takagi pursued this course in his life on the recommendation of a fortune teller. I know that most of us do not put much stock in fortune tellers or other mystics but this outcome -- her giving him the advice, him pursuing it, and ultimately he meeting with success and finding his lifetime career in writing -- is pretty interesting.

As for the book, The Tattoo Murder Case, I was able to find a little information on it here on Google Books:
Written by one of Japan's most popular mystery novelists in 1948 and winner of the Mystery Writers Club Award, this elegant, engaging book is set against the backdrop of the illicit and sensuous art of full-body tattoos. These tattoos were often collected in one piece after the death of the bearer and displayed in museums, but an unusual murder takes place, and the canvas has been mutilated, the victim's tattoo stolen. 'Intricate, fantastic and utterly absorbing' - Kirkus Reviews 'Clever, kinky...entertaining' - Washington Post
I have never heard of people's tattooed skin being removed from their dead bodies and displayed in museums. O_o Definitely going to have to look into this.
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