I still have three books to read this year to complete my 2018 reading challenge and 『探偵倶楽部』(たんていくらぶ) is one of them. It is a collection of five short stories, featuring the mysterious “Membership Detective Club”. I already read the first two short stories and I plan to read the third one in November.
The membership detective club is a detective agency composed of only two persons: an unnamed detective and his assistant. They work for wealthy and selected persons. The interesting feature of this book is that little is known about this detective, not even his name (as far as the first two short stories are concerned.) The stories seem to focus more on the staging of the murder and the events afterwards. As a reader, we follow the characters involved in it, but at the same time, we never quite know who did it, which makes things very exciting.
I read the first short story at the very beginning of the year, but I found it rather difficult at the time. The writing was not especially challenging, but there was a lot of characters introduced at the same time, and it was vital to understand their relationships and position inside the family. This I found daunting at the time and had to re-read the first pages at least three times.
Soon after, I started reading the second short story but eventually gave up, as you have to deal with 12 characters and again, remember their position in the family. I thought that this book was too complicated and put it back on my shelf. No wonder that I have pushed back the time to pick it up again!
But I did read the second short story this month (the one I had given up) and I found it quite easy to read. I cannot even understand what put me off last time. Yes, it is daunting to remember the name of 12 characters, but it only requires to go back to the critical pages from time to time to verify a name.
This proves that I have made some progress in reading this year! I think that, at the beginning of the year, everything was harder for me, and the many names added to the overall confusion. Now, I certainly feel more confident and I don’t need to struggle to understand the story (at least, when it comes to Keigo HIGASHINO) so I can put my effort into remembering the names.
It is very encouraging to have a tangible proof of my progress. I keep stumbling across novels that I still find too difficult for me, and this makes me feel that I don’t progress at all. But the truth is that I did get better and that, maybe as a direct result, I tend to pick more challenging books.
While I am not reading a lot lately, I think that I can manage to read another short story this month. In any case, I love this book, and I am confident that I will finish it before the end of the year.