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The Aosawa Murders: Book summary and reviews of The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda

The Aosawa Murders

by Riku Onda

The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda X
The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Feb 18, 2020
    346 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

On a stormy summer day the Aosawas, owners of a prominent local hospital, host a large birthday party. The occasion turns into tragedy when 17 people die from cyanide in their drinks.

The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer's, and the physician's bewitching blind daughter, Hisako, the only person spared injury. But the youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October, effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery. The police are convinced that Hisako had a role in the crime, as are many in the town, including the author of a bestselling book about the murders written a decade after the incident, who was herself a childhood friend of Hisako' and witness to the discovery of the murders. The truth is revealed through a skillful juggling of testimony by different voices: family members, witnesses and neighbors, police investigators and of course the mesmerizing Hisako herself.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The domino effect of the murder on the community and the nation, as well as the swirl of uncertainty concerning the way its narratives are shaped, gives the book a striking resonance. This dark and dazzling novel defies easy categorization but consistently tantalizes and surprises." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Onda's unusual narrative technique, which presents differing perspectives by giving only the responses to the interviewer's questions, enhances the nesting-doll plot. American readers will appreciate why this puzzle mystery won the annual Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Fiction." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A chilling and skillfully crafted mystery about the spellbinding spaces between evidence, facts, intuition, and the will of a killer." - Library Journal

"Intoxicating details and shiver-inducing propositions hold the full story at a careful distance; when the truth emerges, it's both partial and staggering. The Aosawa Murders is an intricate and devastating search for the facts behind a complicated crime." - Foreword Reviews

"A superb mystery in the true sense of the word." - Asahi Shimbun

"This spine-chilling masterpiece will make you aware of the dark places in your own heart." - Hokkaido Shimbun

"With superb skill, Onda depicts the ambiguity of truth and the unreliability of facts." - Shukan Pia

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Author Information

Riku Onda

Riku Onda, born in 1964, is the professional name of Nanae Kumagai. She has been writing fiction since 1991 and has won the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers, the Japan Booksellers' Award, the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Best Novel, the Yamamoto Shūgorō Prize, and the Naoki Prize. Her work has been adapted for film and television.

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