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The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows [Paperback]

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Item description for The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows by Rampo Edogawa, Ian Hughes & Mark Schreiber...

Two Golden Age classics from Japan's grand master of mystery. Edogawa Rampo (pseudonym of Hirai Taro, 1894-1965) is the acknowledged grand master of Japan's golden age of crime and mystery fiction. In the early part of his career, he created the Japanese gothic mystery, developing the work of Edgar Allan Poe and related nineteenth century writers in a distinctly Japanese form. This part of his career coincided with a great flowering in Japanese literature and culture, a relatively free and uninhibited popular press being a defining feature of the times. In this context, Rampo's dark vision and extravagant grotesquery found an avid readership, and had a profound influence on other writers. The Black Lizard, a master criminal as deadly as she is beautiful, wagers all in an epic battle with a master detective. A mystery writer vows to protect the woman he secretly loves from the Beast in the Shadows, but disaster strikes when he turns detective himself.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   304
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2006
Publisher   Kurodahan Press
ISBN  4902075210  
ISBN13  9784902075212  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Black Lizard and Beast in the Shadows?

Wonderful and Rare  Jan 25, 2006
I first became of Edogawa Rampo a few years ago when a fascinating movie titles "The Mystery of Rampo" was distributed in the US. It used the character of Rampo (a pseudonym for Hirai Taro), a real author who is often considered the father of the Japanese detective story.

This is amazing stuff! Though he was an admirer of western authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Maurice Leblanc, Rampo is no mere imitator. He is an original writer with a wicked sense of humor and an eye for the bizarre.

"Black Lizard" is the most famous of the Akechi Kogoro novels. Akechi is a dilletante-detective character. He is often called the 'Japanese Sherlock Holmes' but Akechi is far from being a stereotyped Holmes clone. He has the requisite detective skills like deductive reason, jujutsu, mastery of disguises. He can also be quite ruthless and mercurial and brings a perverse sense of humor to his adventures.

The titular Black Lizard is a beautiful female crime boss with a perverse streak of her own. She loves to collect beautiful things, both gemstones and pretty people who she has stuffed and mounted to preserve their beauty. Her relationship with the detective is the usual matching of wits but is overshadowed by a growing sexual tension between the two.

It is a strange and fascinating read.

BEAST IN THE SHADOWS is a Poe-esque story of love and obsession. A mystery novelist is attracted to a beautiful woman only to learn that she is being stalked by her old lover, a horror novelist who has gone off the deep end. At least that the way it seems, the novel is wonderfully ambiguous. It reminds me a little of Henry James' TURN OF THE SCREW the way it makes you wonder if even the narrator is what he seems.

Rampo's quirky humor comes out in this story as well. Both the narrator and the unseen stalker seem to be alter egos of his. This gives him an opportunity to lampoon his own stories and his image as a writer.

Both stories are intense, often lurid, and unexpectedly funny. I recommend them highly!

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