Book review: 『蜘蛛男』 by Edogawa Rampo

Introduction

Cover of 蜘蛛男

Title: 『蜘蛛男』 (くもおとこ)
Author: Edogawa Rampo (江戸川乱歩)
Published by 集英社文庫
362 pages

『蜘蛛男』 is the third book and first novel in the Kogoro Akechi series as classified by this publisher.

Review

Great story

I loved 『蜘蛛男』, it is a great detective story than fans of the genre will enjoy for sure. I really loved the atmosphere of the whole story, with its gruesome murder, a general feeling of fear, and a murderer who seems impossible to catch. It is full of machinations, and it was a delight to read. I must say that it is not very difficult to find out the key to the mystery, but this did not prevent me from enjoying the story.

Mysterious Kogoro Akechi

Kogoro Akechi appears very late in the novel. Overall, we don’t learn much about Akechi in this one, and I personally preferred the first short stories where the reader was much closer to Kogoro Akechi than we are now. It looks like the more famous Akechi becomes, the more difficult it is to follow him. For example, we know that he often goes abroad, but we don’t know for what purpose exactly. We’ll see how this develops in the next books.

The worst man in Tokyo

I find that contrary to contemporary detective novels that tend to be more realistic, the Akechi series mostly wants to impress and shock. We have here a villain who commits murder because he is inherently evil. I personally preferred the previous stories where people committed murders for various personal or contextual reasons.

A novel maybe a bit too long?

I found that the last third of the novel was not as intriguing and exciting as the rest. To be honest, I think that it would have been much better if the novel were shorter. As some point in the novel, when it seems that we come to a resolution, something happens that is not very credible, and we start all over again. I found this last part a little repetitive and was a bit disappointed in the end.

Conclusion

When it comes to evaluating the series, I would say that I preferred the short stories over the novella 『一寸法師』 and 『蜘蛛男』 which is the first and only novel I have read so far. It was still a great read though, and I am excited for the rest of the series!

Next on the list is 『猟奇の果』