Created by Koke Abe (1924-93)

Japanese novelist and acclaimed playwright Kobe Abe even cooked up a little private eye novel, The Ruined Map (1967). But it wasn't some lit boy slumming -- he pulled out all the stops and delivered, as one critic called it, "a mesmerizing literary crime novel that combines the narrative suspense of Chandler with the psychological depth of Dostoevsky."

I call it a metaphysical stomp down the mean streets; part fever dream, some post-modern hokum and part hard-boiled headspinner that's far more engaging and entertaining than it has any right to be. And the ending's worth the slog, even if it leaves you scratching your head for days.

An attractive woman who's a bit of a lush hires a young, nameless private detective to track down her husband, Nemuro Hiroshi, a well-repected Tokyo businessman, who went missing six months ago. The hapless gumshoe has only two leads: a photo and a matchbook, but that's just the starting point. Before you know it he's tangling with mobsters, an angry brother-in-law, a vulnerable woman who may be a widow -- and the slippery slopes of reality and rationality itself.


  • "A disquieting and original work of art."

-- The New York Times

  • "A compelling tour-de-force.... A horror story of such magnitude that it stuns the mind."

-- The New York Times Book Review



Famous Writers Who Have Dipped Their Toes in the P.I. Pool

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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