Reading Journal | Book Battle Winner For The First Fraction of The Year | The Devil’s Flute Murder vs The Noh Mask Murder

This week, I have a big decision to make, and it is one of the challenges that I decided to give it a try through my reading journal, it is named the book battle. The point of this battle is to select best read for bimonthly till you get the best read of the best in the year. It is ⅙ of the year; hence, it is the perfect time to determine the first winner for book battle fractions between my best read for January and February.

Book Battle

My best for the two months falls under honkaku, and it is nothing out of the ordinary as for the past several months, this genre has taken most of my interest. So the two books are The Devil’s Flute Murders (Seishi Yokomizo) and The Noh Mask Murder (Akimitsu Takagi). It has been a neck-to-neck competition as Seishi Yokomizo is my favourite author, whereas Akimitsu has won the Prizewinning Classic Japanese Mystery for TNMM for a reason. Both have the perfect quality according to my preference; hence, here we are, making this decision near the weekend.

Although both of them bear the same theme and are true to their theme, there are significant differences between how the two stories are executed. Heads up that both of these books make me cry in the end. Let us review together the quality and best takeaway in these two legendary books.

The Devil’s Flute Murder

♦ It is not odd how the author could shift between a humoristic and horrifying tone in his writing, and this book had the perfect balance for both sides. It means that it appears at the right time and space without feeling the cringes.
♦ The locked room mystery provides an entertaining way for how they are done in missions, and the answers to all the tricks can be predicted in half of the book.
♦ The author’s narration in this book is charming because, as if we hear the story from a friend over a cup of coffee, the thrill and pace make us eager to know what will happen next. I bet I have two or three rounds of coffee for this one.
♦ Red herrings and misleading clues left behind by the preparators also create drama, and oh, how many times I almost fainted after discovering the truths between multiple layered of lies.

The Noh Mask Murder

♦ The author’s self-insert as an amateur detective in this book is undeniably such a cringe that I almost thought this book was a prank. The only reason I felt that choosing his name was such a good choice was because of the secondary party’s hard-edged critics and comments on his method of investigation. Yet he absorbs it all.
♦ This book hit me with multiple pangs of guilt and sympathy as I discovered the truth between the pages. As an honkaku, all the clues were served beforehand; however, other things were left unsaid and delayed until the big reveal.
♦ I read this book after Malice (Keigo Hagashino), and I can’t help but notice the similar resemblance; fabricated scenarios are undoubtedly the biggest misleading towards the actual perpetrator.

To compare this book side to side, The Noh Mask Murder has the biggest impact on my emotions; the ending had double heartbreaks that sent my heart into despair. Hence, for January and February, I choose The Noh Mask Murder as a winner for my best read. That two months down, another 10 months to go.

Question of the day: Do you reread your favourite book yearly?

Interested in the book? Get it on Shopee > The Devil’s Flute Murder / The Noh Mask Murder (Link will be updated once the book is available).