Advanced Japanese Book Club // Next: アンダーグラウンド


Author : 恩田 陸 (おんだ りく)
Page count: 420 pages



北陸・K市の名士・青澤家を襲った大量毒殺事件。乾杯の音頭の直後、皆がもがき苦しみ始めた。家族・親族、相伴に与った業者、遊びに来ていた近所の住人・子どもたちも合わせて、17名が死亡した。現場には、 ユージニア という意味不明の言葉が出てくる詩のような一通の手紙が残されていた。




The novel starts in the 1960s when 17 people die of cyanide poisoning at a party given by the owners of a prominent clinic in a town on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter Hisako, the only person spared injury. The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery.
Years later, the author of a book about the murders and a police detective try to find out the truth about this crime. But the truth is only what we see from our perspective…

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Personal Opinion

Somebody recommended a criminal story by Onda Riku that would turn into a bit of a fantasy story, but they did not give the title. From what they described, it might have been this book (or not), so I’m curious to learn more about it.

Onda Riku is also the author of 夜のピクニック - not sure if this is a pro or a con? :sweat_smile:

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • A criminal story!
  • The recommendation sounded interesting to me, so I’m interested to find out more
  • The book won the 59th 日本推理作家協会賞 (Mystery Writers of Japan Award) in 2006.
  • There is an English translation available (it’s called The Aosawa Murders).
  • There is also a brand-new German translation available (called Die Aosawa-Morde).


  • Yet another criminal story…

Also, please see @wiersm“s comment on the book below.


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters