REVIEW: The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo

February 5, 2022

The Village of Eight Graves

Seishi Yokomizo

Translated into English for the first time the narrative is a wholly original take on The Hound of the Baskervilles and is part of Japan’s most popular murder mystery series, a set of fiendish classics featuring the Columbo-like sleuth & private investigator Kosuke Kindaichi.

Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the Sixteenth Century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village.

Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. The inimitably charming, scruffy and brilliant Kosuke Kindaichi investigates, the narrator giving us a vivid account of the story unfolding around them, with a fiercely first person feeling of what’s occurring in this most strange of mountain villages.  Populated by a cast of utterly peculiar and delightful strange characters, from ancient twins, ranting nuns, deluded lovers, fragile siblings who range across deeply forested groves, caverns measureless to man and a hostile, village full of superstitious villages prone to form an angry mob at the drop of a sickle it’s a fun and vivid read. I felt myself in the Village of Eight Graves every time I opened this book.

The book is a delight, twisting and turning in Gothic wonder in your mind, the plot a writhing handful of teasing hissing threads,  bringing to life place and character with deft prose and the narrative grips from the off. I really enjoyed the grip of the tension and adored the slow and relentless discovery of the awful truth by the fun detective Kindaichi, mixed in with strange and foreign cultural ideas of curse, fate, forbidden love.  This rich murder mystery with a tucked in romance folded fan-like between the shade and blood, will keep you enthralled until the very last page.

Out now £8.99 to order see the publishers website here