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The Japanese Edgar Allan Poe

One of the hidden treasures of Japanese literature is found in the 67 novels and 76 short stories by Edogawa Rampo. Most of his novels and short stories have not been translated into English.

Kurodahan Press has released The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows

A review of The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows, the Daily Yomiuri draws comparisons with Stephen King and Danielle Steele as well as Edgar Allan Poe. There is also an introduction by Mark Schreiber, long-time Japan resident and author. Mark Schreiber is a collector and reviewer of mystery and adventure fiction set in Asia, or involving Asian characters in the West. In Schreiber¹s introduction, he explains how Edogawa Rampo got his start as a translator of English crime fiction and went on to become the originator of Western-style crime stories in the Japanese language.

The Daily Yomiuri review goes on to say:

“The Black Lizard is a pulpy noir pleasure in which a haughty, beautiful villainess matches wits with a humble yet brilliant sleuth. Ideally, this story should be read in a cheap hotel room with cigarette smoke hanging in the air, a neon sign flickering just outside the half-open window, and melancholy saxophone music drifting in from the distance.

“Beast in the Shadows should be read at Starbucks. If this story had been first published today rather than in 1928, "postmodern" would be the only word for it. It's an absurd, ironic and self-referential hall of mirrors in which the first-person protagonist is a novelist-cum-detective trying to prevent a murder by a novelist-turned-criminal who seems to be acting out scenes from his own book about yet another a novelist-turned-criminal. The version of the story we are reading is presented in the form of notes the narrator has written to himself in case, in the future, he ever decides to base a novel on his weird experience. Beast is the much darker of the two stories, and it has a jaw-dropper of an ending.”

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