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  • Published: 30 May 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241439081
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $22.99

Tokyo Express




A perfectly plotted, cosy detective story from Seicho Matsumoto, Japan's master of mystery

In a rocky cove in the bay of Hakata, the bodies of a young and beautiful couple are discovered. Standing in the coast's wind and cold, the police see nothing to investigate: the flush of the couple's cheeks speaks clearly of cyanide, of a lovers' suicide. But in the eyes of two men, Torigai Jutaro, a senior detective, and Kiichi Mihara, a young gun from Tokyo, something is not quite right. Together, they begin to pick at the knot of a unique and calculated crime . . .

Now widely available in English for the first time, Tokyo Express is celebrated around the world as Seicho Matsumoto's masterpiece - and as one of the most fiendish puzzles ever written.

  • Published: 30 May 2023
  • ISBN: 9780241439081
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $22.99

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 Tokyo Express

Tokyo Express is an irresistible Hitchcockian gem: a fiendishly-plotted crime novel told in crisp, elegant prose

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

This classic of postwar Japanese crime fiction was banned in its day for its 'decadent western ideas'. Now, the fascinatingly detailed investigations of Inspector Torigai echo those of Simenon's Maigret in a pared-down narrative shot through with political critique.

Financial Times, Summer Reads 2022

A labyrinth of convincing alibis and false leads... Matsumoto's classic status is richly deserved

Daily Mail

Tense, enigmatic, thrillingly weird - a glorious find

Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier

The debut novel of bestselling writer Seicho Matsumoto, first published in Japan in 1958 and never out of print, is an ingeniously plotted railway mystery

Guardian

An absolute corker of a read -- so brilliantly shrouded in mystery that it was impossible to put it down

Lisa Hall, author of Between You and Me

A fiendishly complex case. A deep understanding of human nature drives this intricately plotted masterpiece of Japanese crime writing. A timely and welcome opportunity for a new generation to discover Seicho Matsumoto

Brian McGilloway, author of The Empty Room

The Simenon of Japan. . . a legendary writer

Le Monde

The greatest Japanese writer of detective stories of the past century. . . Matsumoto infused the genre with social conscience. Highly recommended

La Repubblica

Matsumoto is a necessity, reading him is like having a bowl of rice you never get tired of

Masato Ara

Tokyo Express is an irresistible Hitchcockian gem: a fiendishly-plotted crime novel told in crisp, elegant prose

Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

This classic of postwar Japanese crime fiction was banned in its day for its 'decadent western ideas'. Now, the fascinatingly detailed investigations of Inspector Torigai echo those of Simenon's Maigret in a pared-down narrative shot through with political critique

Financial Times

A labyrinth of convincing alibis and false leads... Matsumoto's classic status is richly deserved

Daily Mail

The debut novel of bestselling writer Seicho Matsumoto, first published in Japan in 1958 and never out of print, is an ingeniously plotted railway mystery

Guardian

Tense, enigmatic, thrillingly weird - a glorious find

Kevin Barry, author of Night Boat to Tangier

An absolute corker of a read -- so brilliantly shrouded in mystery that it was impossible to put it down

Lisa Hall, author of Between You and Me

A fiendishly complex case. A deep understanding of human nature drives this intricately plotted masterpiece of Japanese crime writing. A timely and welcome opportunity for a new generation to discover Seicho Matsumoto

Brian McGilloway, author of The Empty Room

The Simenon of Japan. . . a legendary writer

Le Monde

Matsumoto is a necessity, reading him is like having a bowl of rice you never get tired of

Masato Ara

Seicho Matsumoto's brief and perennially popular Tokyo Express is a masterpiece of concision and tight plotting. . . exceptionally well paced and palpably tense, both features admirably preserved by Jesse Kirkwood in this fresh translation

Bryan Karetnyk, TLS

The appearance in English of Japanese crime classics such as Seicho Matsumoto's Tokyo Express is long overdue

The Sunday Times, Best Crime Books of 2023

Japan's Agatha Christie. A gloriously complex case of a supposed double suicide that, at just 160 pages, you can whizz through in a day.

Laura Hackett, The Sunday Times

Hitchcockian… Seicho Matsumoto has been described as Japan’s Agatha Christie for a reason. A murder-mystery whodunnit which carries the weight and power of high literature

Saskia Kemslet, Standard, Best Reads for Summer 2024

Wonderfully short… this excellent work begins with a lovers’ suicide on a Kyushu beach, but detective suspicions point to a crime linked to governmental scandal… a first-rate classic by a master of the Japanese detective novel. A very satisfying read

Jeremy Black, Critic