八つ墓村(金田一耕助 Reading Club)

Just finished Chapter 1. I agree, definitely an easier read than the 発端.

A few thoughts…

First, I like the narrator so far. There’s a Kafkaesque feeling to his plight in this first chapter. The one thing that makes me nervous is the constant reminders that he’s writing this story down as his personal (and subjective) account of what happened.

(夜歩く Spoiler) If the novel ends with 辰弥’s confession, complete with the admission that he left out key details over the course of the novel, I will be seriously pissed off. :unamused:

As far as predictions go, I have a feeling that the creepy man in the hat and cape (probably also the author of the letter) is none other than 要蔵 himself. Seems like the most likely possibility at this point, anyway.

From the books we’ve read so far, it seems like 横溝 is the type of author who tends to reuse variations on the same themes and character tropes over and over again, without too much concern about the quality of the final product. It’s almost like he knows it won’t work perfectly every time - with some less successful attempts possibly cut short and turned into short stories. 本陣 and 獄門島 are so far the only two that felt like fully formed, complete works. I’m hoping that 八つ墓村 restores my faith in 横溝 after the lackluster experiences of 殺人鬼 and 夜歩く (the latter of which had a very similar set-up to this one).

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(Not really a spoiler?) If you want to know whether Tatsuya’s narration can be trusted or not…

(Now a spoiler) Tatsuya’s narration can be trusted

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るる

I thought to try to check where I know I’ve definitely seen it - there’s a 百人一首 poem that begins 忘れるる, and this explanation of the poem says:

【忘らるる】
「忘(わす)る」は下二段活用の動詞ですが、ここでは古い形である四段活用で扱っています。「るる」は受け身の助動詞の連体形で、「忘れ去られる」という意味です。
and the little manga guide for the poems I have just translates it as: “忘れられてしまう”

So anyway I guess it’s not all that closer to a specific analogue answer, but it seems to me that it’s a grammatical form for sticking a verb in front of stuff like nouns, and the original in our case is just saying her 色気 was こぼられる’ing all over the place in that way female characters seem to have happen in books a lot…

Digging a little deeper, this source seems like it was the clearest to me in grasping what 連体形 is:

本記事では終止形と連体形の識別の仕方を書きます。
1、わたしはご飯を食べる。
2、わたしはご飯を食べることが好きだ。
この二つの「食べる」は両方同じ形にみえる「食べる」ですが、実は活用形が異なるのです。

So yeah - putting it together with the explanations about るる, こぼられる at the end of the sentence would appear to be こぼらるる here because it’s in front of ばかり.
Would just こぼられるばかり play in modern Japanese? or would it be phrased differently or be in the ている perhaps? I’ll leave those as rhetorical questions… :sweat_smile:

Also, I finished Chapter 2!

This time around, as an exercise in not being afraid of (re)writing a bunch of kanji, I also made an extremely clear and well-arranged and legible family tree / character diagram covering what we’ve read so far, so I could update it, maintaining the rigorous standards of clarity as we read more of course.

character diagram as of the end of Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 SPOILERS

And I still kept notes - turns out it’s a pretty fun way actually to collate visual aides and whatnot that I look up while reading as I go instead of just leaving them open in a tab! And I made an effort to write kanji as much as possible since it already seems like a nice difference from not doing it at all - a little practice from nothing seems like it goes a long way when I can at least judge for myself whether something is baseline legible or not.

Chapter 2 notes

CHAPTER 2 SPOILERS
…through a train ride:

…through an interesting room description:

… through a star appearance:

… and through the end of the chapter:

Character diagram as of the end of chapter 2

CHAPTER 2 SPOILERS


In my head I feel like I assumed Chapter 2 would be as low on details as Chapter 1and in retrospect I don’t know why I assumed that at all :sweat_smile:
I enjoyed reading it a whole lot though!! My #1 favorite Yokomizo thing, maybe even trumping tragic doomed families of regional nobility with convoluted backstories, is portentous 屏風s, and this one seems like an especially fun one! What a creepy room, and I thought the atmosphere and set-up leading into Tatsuya visiting the house for the first time was really excellent. It turned out I like a lot his role as the narrator in this one too since he has direct stakes in the situation and a fraught tense relationship with everyone else who has (often not fully known) stakes in the situation too. The scene with Hisaya being bitingly sarcastic about Tatsuya maybe/probably not being a blood relative while everyone ominously maintains a more nonchalant facade even subsequently when he’s in pain and dies plays with that well, for example.
I don’t know about all of you, but my pick for the murderer is the monk in the 屏風 manifesting supernaturally and killing people in the 3-dimensional world for unknowable 屏風 spirit reasons / revenge probably :open_mouth: Final answer!

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Finished chapter two; some good stuff in here. I liked the bit about the folding screen, and the sickroom scene. It’s interesting that Kindaichi is on the scene early but thus far is apparently not taking a very active part – he kind of gave Tatsuya a warning and then left him to his own devices..

It’s at about this point in the book that I start wishing that there was a list of the dramatis personae at the front with furigana :slight_smile: I can never remember how to pronounce half their names…

The murderer’s chosen method seems oddly lackadaisical – if you’re going to poison your victim’s medicine, why only tamper with one dose at a time? Maybe this stuff is just expensive…

I might switch to starting chapters on the weekend before the official ‘start day’, because having the two days when I can put more time in be at the end of the reading week has made me feel a bit behind the pace all week.

Oh, and it’s interesting how referring to places like F----city or B---- or whatever rather than using the actual placenames makes the text feel a bit old and out of style these days…

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This week I officially lost track of how everyone in this crazy family is related to everyone else, so thanks for making such an exceptionally clear and intuitive diagram :+1:. Now if only they would put something like this in the book itself…

:scream:

j/k, I’ve been reading ahead too.

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I didn’t have much time to read last week, and when I did I chose easy reads every time. :joy: So now I’m behind (I only finished chapter 1 so far), but I’ll try to catch up over these next two weeks. :muscle:

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Chapter 3 down! Feels like we’re starting to get a little information and answers rather than just Tatsuya being befuddled while everybody around him drops like flies… I definitely hadn’t expected those two old ladies to be keeping a corpse (whose?? Maybe it’s Youzou – that seems like the most likely person who could die without being missed)…

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Finished chapter 3.

I was very confused by this post until I double-checked the definitions of 仏 :slightly_smiling_face:

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Just finished Chapter 3. I haven’t fallen behind yet, but everyone reading ahead makes me feel like I have. :sweat_smile:

I’m still sensing a lot of similarities to 夜歩く. The one that stood out to me the most in this chapter was Tatsuya’s sleep paralysis. It’s basically the inverse of the sleepwalking in 夜歩く. Rather than moving around without being conscious, he’s conscious without being able to move. It’s really interesting to me how these books connect to each other like that.

It was definitely disturbing how composed the aunts were after the third murder, telling Tatsuya that he needs to relax more. Given the title of Chapter 4, I don’t see much chance of that happening… :joy:

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Maybe the twist is that this was all a big misunderstanding, and he’s going to spend the rest of the book hanging out with his eccentric old aunts, drinking weird tea and admiring their collection of Buddha statues.

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Don’t worry, I am perfectly behind - I’ll probably finish up chapter 2 today to still be behind by a week tomorrow. So you’re fine! :joy:

I hope I’ll be able to set aside more than half an hour to read a day next week and finally catch up! Chapter 3 is a bit shorter than 2, so I think I should be able to at least get started on chapter 4 during the week in any case. :muscle:

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I finished chapter 2, right on time! a week late

金田一! I wasn’t expecting him to show up so early, somehow! I wonder if it’s really a coincidence he’s there, or if his old friend’’ called him over because he knew something was up.

His first appearances are always fun and もじゃもじゃ. Although this time around he seemed almost somber. Difficult to imagine him peeing at the roadside in this mood…

I also enjoy these a lot! They’re very atmospheric and dramatic, even just standing there. :grin:

I also really like your notes and diagrams! I imagine they must be satisfying to make.

I noticed that the film’s genre is described as horror romantic in the video blurb thing. That’s an interesting combination. :thinking:

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I agree, but he is also my most likely candidate for who was lurking around the 屏風 at night - 英泉 being a close second, what with the lurker supposedly looking like the monk in the painting come to life.

If it’s 要蔵 lurking, it might explain why he looked at 辰也 so closely. He might have been trying to figure out if he was his son, or really the teacher’s as he’d suspected.

So I ended up reading all of chapter 3 today, which was super unexpected and means I’m caught up. Also this is my third post in a row. I’ll just stop now. :joy:

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Chapter 4 – it being a long one I thought I might need more time for it, but the story pulled me in…

Tatsuya annoyed me a bit in this by being inconsistent about whether he’s being secretive or not. The nun told him (in chapter 3) to come alone for what’s clearly a secret piece of information, but he tells Haruyo all about it before he goes, and ends up bringing Miyako with him despite the nun saying ‘come alone’. (Not that it made a difference in the end…) But then later on he opts for being super-secretive about the tunnels and so on, which is clearly going to come back to bite him later. I liked all the cave exploration. Kindaichi is still entertaining the possibility that Tatsuya is the murderer, I think.

Current theories: Shintarou is the murderer; we do seem to have a motive starting to appear, pethaps. Tatsuya isn’t actually Youzou’s child at all.

Also I notice Yokomizo really likes to talk about how much people sweat…

Side note: I’m reading one of the ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 series books right now, and it’s all about Yokomizo books/stories…

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I’m working* through chapter 4, but I don’t know if I’ll be done on schedule.

My current goal is to parse 伯母さまがた correctly on the first try :upside_down_face:.

*(After coming back from a 2-day break, it feels less like work, so that’s nice)

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Some atmosphere, since I was in a limestone cave this morning:

This one isn’t natural – it’s actually part of a bronze age copper mine[*], dug out 3000 years ago by people with just stone and bone tools and not much light. Speaking of which, if you’re wandering around caves with just a candle, not even a lantern or flashlight, the main difference from this kind of safe-for-tourists well-lit show cave is that it’s going to be very very dark…

[*] if you happen to be in North Wales, the Great Orme mines: very good if you like that kind of thing.

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I was ahead but now I’m behind! :open_mouth: Good thing I had those notes!

Chapter 3 notes

I love how spooky this one is!

The monk resemblance connection is a good point!
In a combination of both of this, perhaps 英泉 is 亀井? (or I suppose even 要蔵 but that seems fishier since he’d have to really be pulling a Clark Kent…). The chapter made a point of saying 英泉’s background pre-war wasn’t certain, and the outburst after the murder and then the inspection and tears at night could be him worried and suspicious of 辰也’s lineage and verifying up close, like you say, but from the other direction…

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Ooh, that sounds fun! Which stories get referenced, if you remember? :eyes: Do they get explicitly named? I’ve got that series on my to read list for… Eventually.

Chapter 4 spoilers

I agree, that was… Unnecessary? Why’d he lie about that of all things?

I also enjoyed the cave exploration! Thanks for the picture, really cool to see. Especially since part of the cave in the book is also man made.

Looking forward to next chapter after that end with the armor!

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The “chapter title” stories are 雪割草 and 獄門島 (i.e. the mystery of the chapter revolves around a copy of that book in some way). Some other titles including 八つ墓村 get briefly name-dropped in early dialogue.

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Also, I note that end of chapter 4 puts us more than halfway through the book…

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