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  • Published: 6 August 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241694701
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $26.99

Inspector Imanishi Investigates

A thrilling crime classic, from the bestselling author of Tokyo Express

Tokyo, 1960. As the first rays of morning light hit the rails at Kamata Station, a man’s body is found on the tracks. With only two leads – a distinctive accent and a single word, ‘kameda’ – senior inspector Imanishi Eitaro is called in to solve the puzzle.

Setting aside his beloved bonsai and haikus, he must cross Japan in search of answers, from Osaka to Akita, accompanied by junior detective Yoshimura. At each new town, they encounter traces of the avant-garde Nouveau Group – young Tokyo artists who are bringing new ideas from the West. What to make of this modern collective? And how to stop another mysterious death occurring? Inspector Imanishi investigates…

A fascinating glimpse into Japanese society at a time of great change, this is one of Seicho Matsumoto’s best-loved novels – a riveting mystery from the master of Japanese crime.

  • Published: 6 August 2024
  • ISBN: 9780241694701
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • RRP: $26.99

About the author

Seicho Matsumoto

Seicho Matsumoto was born in 1909 in Fukuoka, Japan. Self-educated, Matsumoto published his first book when he was forty years old and he quickly established himself as a master of crime fiction. His exploration of human psychology and Japanese post-war malaise, coupled with the creation of twisting, dark mysteries, made him one of the most acclaimed and best-selling writers in Japan. He received the prestigious Akutagawa Literary Prize in 1950 and the Kikuchi Kan Prize in 1970. He died in 1992.

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Praise for Inspector Imanishi Investigates

The most intricate web of detection . . . A tantalizing double unveiling act . . . Belongs on your shelf next to Christie and Simenon, P.D. James and Robert Van Gulik. A superb thriller

LA Times

A stylish mystery novel written by one of Japan's most popular authors . . . First-rate storytelling . . . Inspector Imanishi deserves to be welcomed to the ranks of international crime fiction

New York Times

Patient, meticulous stories that offer an anatomy of a society as much as a picture of a crime


Reminds me of [John le Carré's] writing . . . fascinating . . . It’s a moment of transition in Japan; new ideas are spreading, new contexts are forming. There’s traditional beauty still, but modernity is yammering to be let in . . . Highly recommended

Nick Harkaway, author of Titanium Noir

Beautiful and melancholic, Inspector Imanishi Investigates is not just an ingenious and elegant mystery, but a fascinating window into 1960s Japan

Paula Hawkins

Seicho Matsumoto's Inspector Imanshi Investigates explores post-war Japan, its anxieties and struggles for a new identity. With an engaging older detective and an enthusiastic younger sidekick, this is a book lovers of traditional crime fiction will understand and enjoy

Ann Cleeves

An absolute classic, and a whole new world to explore ... irresistible

Lee Child

A more considered work than Tokyo Express, although one similarly interested in train travel. Set in 1960, the writing brings up a Japan before high-speed trains, one that is more alive to differences, not least in dialect, between particular areas... A well-presented book... Deserves being in the library of all interested in detective fiction

Jeremy Black, Critic

A blood-drop on a cherry blossom, an ageless masterwork from the master himself, Seicho Matsumoto paved the way for Japanese crime fiction with good reason. Inspector Imanishi Investigates is a beguiling omakase of a novel – a fascinating exploration of tradition versus modernity, a contemplation of human darkness and a silk-smooth murder mystery. As Imanishi investigates death, so too the reader investigates a post-war Japan in metamorphosis. Matsumoto etches himself in time with this elegy to the Japanese detective

Nicolás Obregón

In this 1960s crime novel, the setting is as enticing as the plot... thoroughly satisfying

Barry Turner, Daily Mail