Week 3: 本陣殺人事件

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本陣殺人事件 Home Thread

Week 3


Start Date: Jan 15th
Previous Part: Week 2
Next Part: Week 4


Week Start Date Chapter Names Page Count
Week 3 Jan 15th 「捜査会議」、「金田一耕助」 ~25.5

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:


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  • I have finished this part
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Proper Noun Readings

Previous Proper Nouns
Name Reading Notes Proof
井上 英三 いのうえ えいぞう Narrator’s friend (Chapter 1: 三本指の男) (Week 1)
一柳 賢蔵 いちやなぎ けんぞう Head of the family, eldest son, 40 yo, philosopher, lives with his parents
一柳 糸子 いちやなぎ いとこ Kenzou’s mother, widow, 57 yo (Chapter 2: 本陣の末裔)
一柳 妙子 いちやなぎ たえこ Second child, eldest daughter, lives in Shanghai
一柳 隆二 いちやなぎ りゅうじ Third child, second son, 35yo, doctor in Osaka
一柳 三郎 いちやなぎ さぶろう Fourth child, third son, 25yo, lives with his parents
一柳 鈴子 いちやなぎ すずこ Fifth child, second daughter, 17yo, lives with her parents
一柳 良介 いちやなぎ りょうすけ Cousin of the five children, 38yo
一柳 秋子 いちやなぎ あきこ 良介’s wife
久保 克子 くぼ かつこ 賢蔵’s fiancé
久保 林吉 くぼ りんきち 克子’s father, deceased, fruit farmer
鈴子’s cat
久保 銀造 くぼ ぎんぞう 克子’s uncle and the one who raised her/supports her (Week 2)
源七 げんしち 作男
週吉 しゅうきち The miller/小作
磯川 常次郎 いそかわ つねじろう 警部
木村 きむら 刑事
川田 かわた・かわだ The お主婦, or at least the 飯屋 she runs

Thanks for the list of characters! Just wanted to point out that you have 健蔵 on there twice though. :grin:

Thanks for catching this! That happens when an author introduces a character twice :woman_facepalming:

On a slightly unrelated note, I’ve stopped reading this book for now… I somehow could not really connect to the story. I know it’s supposed to pick up later, but somehow… I don’t know, I devoted 4 days to reading this book last week, and I barely made it through the second half of chapter 2 (i.e. 5 pages in 4 days?!?), for reasons that I don’t properly understand myself. Therefore I’ve decided to drop the book for the time being and read something else that I can enjoy more right now. (Of course I will continue to run the book club so no worries on that part.)
In other words, if you come across more character names that you would like to be added to the list, please put them up in the threads and I will add them to the OP.


I find this book to be slow going as well, which I think in part is due to a lot of outdated kanji and terminology. So I can understand where you’re coming from. I’m still finding it easier to read than パノラマ島綺譚 though… :sweat_smile:

Also, judging from the chapter titles for this week, it looks like one very important character is about to be introduced… :wink:

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Yeah, it’s making it harder. Like 15 pages is long in this book while in other it’s short.

This week spoiler

So, if I followed correctly, the father of the deceased woman burned some diary pages then he called on the detective.
The plot thickens. I wonder if the track in the snow are him walking backward. Maybe not with the cliff but still.

A hard read again this week but as long as I can get the general I’m good. I might not follow all the hints though ha ha

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This week discussion based on hazy memories, refreshed by reading a section over again

The part about “the father of the deceased woman burned some diary pages” didn’t jibe with my memory of how the mystery unfolded early on, so I read over that section again.

I’m pretty sure what happened roughly is:
銀造 (the uncle and guardian of the deceased bride) together with the various people investigating things found a diary with a section burned, and is increasingly suspicious of 三郎 (one of the brothers of the deceased groom, the one who lazes around the house), who reported a previous time having used the room and fireplace when the diary pages weren’t there (as in, hadn’t been burned in the fireplace yet I mean).

Then as the investigation continues, we hear that 秋子 (the wife of the cousin who lives in the 離れ家) was looking for 賢蔵 (the deceased groom) just before the ceremony, and eventually found him in that office in the main house apparently burning something in front of the furnace, where the burnt pages were later found.

So I think at least as far as the investigators are concerned right now, the major implication is 賢蔵 burned a section of his own diaries before the conclusion of the wedding and his demise.

(and there’s a bunch of specifics about what can be recovered from the burned material and the diary and stuff, seems like it has something to do with a mysterious bitter enemy of 賢蔵’s, leading to possible connections but no clear answers yet as to why he would burn that part of his own diary and why it would have occurred to him to do it then specifically)

Then 銀造 is the one who contacts 金田一.

I mean that as general gist help, don’t mean to tramp down any speculation :grin: so if that part was meant as speculation, please ignore!


Oh! It makes more sense now thank you!

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I think it’s the right choice to not try to push yourself through it right now!

I think of Yokomizo’s style as like, “artful exposition” in that he’s pretty much just explaining details the whole time and you have to try to keep them straight without being tipped off about what’s going to turn out to be important and what isn’t. And I wouldn’t say that approach changes later on in the book (other than the case progressing of course).
Which is just to say I think that following all that exposition can be fun and gripping in its own right… but it seems like it would be especially not fun to try to force through if it’s not clicking! :slight_smile: So I hope you can enjoy it more down the line without the “oh no I need to catch up with the book club!” factor.


Thank you :blush:

I don’t even understand myself what exactly keeps me from reading this - maybe I simply need to learn more words and kanji that he uses in order to make the reading faster and therefore more entertaining :woman_shrugging:

(Also I’m reading another very vocab-heavy book right now so maybe I’m just tired of all the lookups… :thinking:)

I will definitely return to it at some point. Thanks for your encouragement, I really appreciate it!


That’s a great way to put it though. So far I’m enjoying it quite a bit more than I’d’ve expected had I known that that was his style going in.
I guess it helps that it’s a named narrator laying out the information for our benefit, in a very personal way, rather than just a wall of details told matter of factly. Also that there’s quite a bit of conversation/things being told ‘as they happen(ed)’ mixed in helps keeps it fresh.

I guess I’m caught up already, even though I haven’t started this week’s reading yet. No need to wait for week 4. :sunglasses:


Too bad but good for you that you know when to stop! I also had a bit of trouble getting into it at the beginning but the pace does pick up, and the vocab is not always that bad. There’s a bunch of japanese architecture vocab, koto vocab, and in the last chapter there was also a bunch of japanese clothes vocab. But once you get over it, the vocab tends to repeat, it’s not really a constant stream of new words I find. (Edit: not too say I don’t encounter a lot of other words I don’t know, but they’re generally guessable from context)


I find myself lacking in motivation too! Perhaps because I watched one version of the movies on YouTube before I started reading. (:

This week, I find the connections to the U.S. quite interesting especially given the post-war context of when the novel was written.


I am very much not lacking motivation - I read 捜査会議 today and although I’d dreaded it by name alone, it’s actually my favorite so far. I’m very much looking forward to the next part where 金田一 should make an appearance~ :sparkles:

I’m still looking up a lot of words - and google image search is still being very useful. マドロスパイプ was a highlight - but it is definitely getting less and less. I (obsessively) check how many highlights I have after every chapter. :joy:


And then I read 金田一耕助, and there’s so many new names in there (mostly place names but), and new words for stuff like clothes…

I have a few more words highlighted for this one than the first chapter, even. :upside_down_face:

I want to know what route he took, though!
If all these x–y places really exist, it’d be super interesting to follow in their footsteps. :sparkles:


Told you so!
The place names I just kinda ignore…


I remember looking up train lines when I read it the first time! It is all real places (except I assume, the main one) and train routes to my knowledge, and I love that impression Yokomizo gives that you could still to this day go to these places and talk to old-timers with vague memories of the case (in contrast to Ranpo being cagier and elusive about settings other than Tokyo).
Flipping through a bit, it looks like it says he took a train on the 山陽線 and transferred to the 伯備線 at 倉敷, which it seems like you can still totally do today


Then he gets off at 清ーー, which looks like it has to be 清音! So if you do that, and then walk a few miles, and ask around in the villages you come across about if anyone remembers hearing about an especially weird murder from before the war… :sparkles:

In fact, taking it further:

We’re dealing with roughly this area… and hey! There’s a 高ーー川! The 高橋 river! And that area to the west of the station where he got off is called 川辺, could be the 川ーー村 with the 街道 where the car accident happened.

So it looks like he was probably going at least a bit west! That train line on google going that direction is apparently the 井原線, which didn’t open until the 90s! So I wonder if that’s roughly the path of the route he was taking on foot.

Out of curiosity, I tried googling 本陣 in that area, and found one a little farther than described in the book.
Although – I’m not quite sure - do they actually live in or operate a 本陣 or former 本陣 at the time the story takes place? I remember it saying in the family’s introduction, they ran a 本陣 when that was relevant in the shogunate, but seeing the writing on the wall they moved farther out and bought up land. So I’m still not really clear on if their residence now has anything to do with a 本陣 other than just being extravagant due to 本陣-related pride and wealth? I guess it probably is/was a 本陣 too or the 殺人事件 wouldn’t be named after it huh.
I guess looking into it, a 本陣 is maybe less a business run like a normal inn and maybe more like, the estate of an important family with special designations from the government. So I suppose perhaps the answer is that the residence of a 本陣-running family is a de facto 本陣 by definition in people’s (or at least their own) eyes even if post-shogunate the whole concept isn’t relevant anymore and they moved anyway.
Anyway, looking at the family’s introduction again - apparently originally they were in 川ーー村! So with the same detective work you can see that movement too!


Nice investigation, thanks for the information!

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