Points and lines

by Seichō Matsumoto

Paper Book, 1970




Tokyo ; London : Kodansha, 1970


The suicide of a young couple on a secluded and historically famous Japanese beach uncovers a nation-wide crime network.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bcquinnsmom
First let me say that I LOVE Japanese mysteries. They are generally much more intricate than most American mysteries and have a bit more darkness than ours. I also love this author's work and pick it up when I can find it.

In this book, the death of a couple sparks the interest of a police inspector but his superiors are treating it like a suicide. As he starts looking into the case, he discovers that things are not always what they seem to be.

You may or may not like mysteries from Japan, but they are worthy, at least, of trying.
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LibraryThing member arubabookwoman
This is a more conventional murder mystery than Villain. Two bodies are found on a rocky beach at dawn. Initially, the deaths are classified as a "love suicide", and the case is officially closed. However, one detective (based on the off-hand comment of his daughter that it was unusual that two lovers traveling together ate separately) suspects otherwise and begins to delve more deeply.

Written as a police procedural, the book moves step by logical step to expose deceit and corruption in high levels of government in arriving at its ultimate conclusion. My complaint about the book is that the solving of the mystery consists in large part of examination and analysis of the minutiae of train, plane, and boat time tables. This might be purposeful--to emphasize the tedium of police work, but I found myself not concentrating on the differences minutes made.
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LibraryThing member callmecayce
There is something about Matsumoto's writing style that I just simply adore. I find it hard to explain, except that it's just completely charming (which is a weird descriptor of a mystery novel). I love his characters, especially the detectives and Points and Lines has two very fantastic ones.

At the center of this mystery is a man who's alibi can't be broken and it's up to the two detectives, working on hunches from the very beginning of the case, to break it. They must find a way to prove that a murder actually occurred. Though they only work together briefly, Torigai (the old, veteran and rural located detective who first decides there's something fishy about the case) and Mihara (the younger detective from Tokyo) establish a relationship that lasts throughout the novel.

Matsumoto's writing is fantastic, his focus on details is endlessly interesting (who knew that train schedule could be so fascinating) and his ability to describe places in few words all makes up for a great (and quick) read. What makes Points and Lines so good (and so different from Inspector Imanishi Investigates) is the fact that early on Mihara has a hunch as to who committed the murder (that isn't even established as a murder) and it's not so much that we ever think the character is innocent (because we don't), it's more that we are just reading to find out how it was done. Almost like a Columbo episode.

I loved this book as I loved Inspector Imanishi Investigates. I can't wait to read the two other Matsumoto that have been translated into English and I only wish there were more.
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LibraryThing member timjones
I very much enjoyed this combination of a complex plot with deceptively simple and elegant writing. Well worth a read whether you're into mysteries, Japan, or trains that run on time!
LibraryThing member lucaconti
A crime story in Japan. Entertaining and well done.


Original language



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