"Freedom on an uninhabited island. A cold case to pick over. A bit of a thrill."
"My daughter Chiori was murdered by all of you."
Kawaminami is floored when he realizes the letter is from none other than Nakamura Seiji -- and that he's received an "accusation made by a dead man." What's more, he discovers right away that at least one other member of the club, now on the island, has received the same correspondence. Along with two other acquaintances, he begins to delve into the matter of the strange letter, which leads them to also investigate the case of the quadruple murders of the previous September on Tsunojima. In the meantime, the weirdness begins back at the island with the discovery of seven "milky white plates," on which red characters had been printed,
quickly followed by the mysterious death of one of the seven and the first of the plates having been tacked to the dead person's door. With no possibility of leaving the island, and as more deaths follow, as the back cover blurb notes, "the survivors grow desperate and paranoid, turning on each other."
As I've always said about this genre that really stands on its own within the genre of crime/mystery fiction, these stories are less character oriented and more about how the deed was done. It's no surprise to me on reading several reader reviews of this book that noted the lack of character development, because that's pretty standard with this sort of thing, something I've come to expect after reading so many of them. Taking that aspect away, focusing on the who and the how, The Decagon House Murders becomes an intense puzzle, the solution of which I would never have guessed. I will say that I'm a bit frustrated at not being able to share my experience with the identity of the who, but to do so would be giving away the show. I do think I would like to take a look at the original though, because I'm not sure I would have translated some things in this book the same way, for example, in having one character refer to the group as "y'all." I mean, come on. Seriously?
I had great fun with this novel, and I certainly would recommend it to regular fans of this sort of puzzler, or to fans of Japanese crime fiction in general. The ending alone was well worth the price I paid for the book.