The Tokyo Zodiac Murders belongs to the popular Japanese honkaku, “orthodox” or “authentic”, subgenre of murder mysteries. Unlike psychological thrillers, honkaku books focus on plotting and clues. The reader is not deceived by the author but actively drawn into the writing and encouraged to participate in the solving of the mystery. These “pure” mysteries also stay away from social criticism, drawing their inspiration from writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe, whose works inspired the Golden Age of Detective Fiction in Britain, and with whom Shimada has been compared for the complexity of his plots and the elegance of their solutions.
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