The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
Crime , Pushkin Press , Seishi Yokomizo / June 9, 2020

In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour – it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions about the Ichiyanagis around the village. Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi family are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music – death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. The murder seems impossible, but amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is determined to get to the bottom of it. What with various real-life distractions I ended up taking most of May off from book reviewing. Things have settled somewhat, and I decided it was high time to get back to reading. I have tentatively dipped my toe back into the waters of genre fiction with a Japanese period detective novel called The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo. I’ve not read a huge amount of what you would probably call traditional crime fiction so this was a pleasant change for me….

Clinch by Martin Holmen

The writing’s on the wall for Harry Kvist. Once a notorious boxer, he now spends his days drinking, and his nights chasing debts amongst the pimps, prostitutes and petty thieves of 1930s Stockholm. When women can’t satisfy him, men can. But one biting winter’s night he pays a threatening visit to a debtor named Zetterberg, and when the man is found dead shortly afterwards, all eyes are on Kvist. Determined to avoid yet another stint in prison, Kvist sets out to track down the only person who can clear his name. His hunt will lead him from the city’s slums, gangster hideouts and gambling dens to its most opulent hotels and elite nightclubs. It will bring him face to face with bootleggers and whores, aristocrats and murderers. It will be the biggest fight of his life. Time for some crime. I’ve read and enjoyed quite of a lot of Scandinavian crime fiction. I’ve also read and enjoyed quite of lot of historical fiction. The promise of a novel that successfully combines the two certainly piques my interest. Clinch is the debut novel from Martin Holmen featuring ex-boxer Harry Kvist. Kvist remains a bit of an enigma throughout. Though there are…