Rahul Sharma

The Murder in the Honjin

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Originally published  20 April 1973
3.7/5 Goodreads

Author  Seishi Yokomizo
Similar  Akuma no Temariuta, Akuma ga Kitarite Fue wo Fuku, The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, The Kindaichi Case Files, The Decagon House M

The Murder in the Honjin (本陣殺人事件, Honjin satsujin jiken) is a mystery novel by Seishi Yokomizo. It was serialized in the magazine Houseki from April to December 1946, and won the first Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1948. It was filmed as Death at an Old Mansion in 1976.


The first novel in the Kosuke Kindaichi series, it concerns a murder in a locked room in a Japanese mansion surrounded by thick snow.


On 25 November 1937, at a former honjin in Okayama, the wedding of Kenzou Ichiyanagi and Katsuko Kubo is held. The celebrants include the mother Itoko, the third son Saburo, the second daughter Suzuko, the cousin Ryousuke, and Ginzo Kubo, Katsuko's uncle. During the ceremony, Suzuko plays the koto, and everything ends without incident.

Later that night, the wild sound of the koto is heard across the mansion. Ginzo rushes to the newly wedded couple's bedroom, only to find the couple killed in a brutal fashion. A Japanese sword is later found thrust into the ground in the middle of the garden, with no footprints on the surrounding thick snow, creating a perfect locked room mystery.

Key figures

Kosuke Kindaichi
A private detective, summoned by Ginzo Kubo
Tsunejirou Isokawa
An inspector from Okayama prefecture in charge of the case
Katsuko Kubo
A schoolteacher, married to Kenzou Ichiyanagi
Ginzo Kubo
The owner of an orchard, Katsuko's uncle

House Ichiyanagi

Itoko Ichiyanagi
The mother of the family
Kenzou Ichiyanagi
The eldest son, the present head of family, and a scholar
Taeko Ichiyanagi
The eldest daughter, married to a company employee and travelling to Shanghai
Ryuuji Ichiyanagi
The second son, working as a doctor at a hospital in Osaka
Saburou Ichiyanagi
The third son
Suzuko Ichiyanagi
The second daughter, in poor health, but excellent at the koto
Ryousuke Ichiyanagi
The family's cousin
Akiko Ichiyanagi
Ryousuke's wife


The Murder in the Honjin Wikipedia

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