Book Review: 『天啓の殺意』by Sin NAKAMACHI

About the book

Title 『天啓の殺意』(てんけいのさつい) – The Apocalyptic Fugue
Author: Sin NAKAMACHI 中町信 (1935-2009)
Published by 創元推理文庫

『天啓の殺意』has been first published by Tokuma (徳間書店) in 1982 under the title 『散歩する死者』. It was re-published by Tsogen publisher in 2005.

It is the 6th novel written by Sin NAKAMACHI.

Book Review

If you like mystery and detective novels, I heartily recommend 『天啓の殺意』!

I purposely skip the “setting” part of this review because I think that it is best to read this book without having any previous knowledge of the story and the setting.

I was just thinking the other day how relatively calm 2019 has been in terms of reading. I liked all the books I have read this year, but apart from 『新参者』by Keigo HIGASHINO, I haven’t felt really excited about what I was reading. Of course, this was until I read『天啓の殺意』: it was easy to read and engrossing, and it is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of 2019.

I had already read a book by Sin NAKAMACHI earlier in 2019 so I knew what to expect: Sin NAKAMACHI plays with the reader and invites us to actively participate in the mystery. As a consequence, I was determined to read closely, to pay attention to every detail and to not let myself be fooled this time. But still, I was staring at the book with amazement when I reached the end!

It is the kind of murder story that makes you cry “I knew it!” or “what???”, and reading it was so much fun and so exciting! I finished it in 5 days, which is extremely rare when it comes to novels written in Japanese. I usually become tired of reading in a foreign language after 20 or 30 pages, but this book was so engrossing that I couldn’t put it down.

Book review: 『模倣の殺意』by Sin NAKAMACHI


Title: 『模倣の殺意』(The Plagiarized Fugue)
Author: Sin NAKAMACHI 中町信
Published by 創元推理文庫

Sin NAKAMACHI (1935-2009) was an author of crime fiction. 『模倣の殺意』was first published in 1973 under the title “新人賞殺人事件”. In 2004, 創元推理文庫 brought this mystery novel to the public again and gave it its present title.


An introductory chapter sets the facts: A man called Masao SAKAI dies on July, 7th at 7pm. He was an author of crime fiction. His death by poisoning looks like suicide but two persons are not convinced and will investigate. We follow these two characters, the chapters alternating between one and the other.

Review: Excellent mystery!

I didn’t know Sin NAKAMACHI before, and I bought this book because the obi said “これはすごい!”. I must learn not to let myself be too influenced by such promotional phrases, but in this case, it was true: this book was really good.

Japanese publishers are really good at promoting their books!

First of all, the book is an excellent mystery novel with all the elements you would expect to find in good crime fiction. However, as the obi suggests, Sin NAKAMACHI goes further than just telling a good story. If you want to fully enjoy this novel, you will have to be an active reader and try to solve the case by yourself.

I personally love novels of crime fiction where the reader is invited to participate. The author does not let you read passively and wait for the detective to name the culprit. There are things that are strange, that don’t fit, and no matter how lazy you are, you have to investigate the matter!

As for the language level, I would say that it was very similar to Keigo HIGASHINO. In the genre of crime/mystery fiction, Keigo HIGASHINO is to me the easiest author to read, and『模倣の殺意』had no difficult passages or dialogues, the story was easy to follow, but you have to pay attention to details.