(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

One of Japan’s leading writers of detective and espionage fiction, Akimitsu Takagi garnered both popular success and critical acclaim during his lifetime. His intricate and cleverly plotted police procedural s are favorites of fans of the genre. Critics applaud his creation of psychologically intriguing human beings, whether the characters he presents are the victims, the criminals, or the investigators. Additionally, Takagi expanded the form and focus of the Japanese detective novel to more closely parallel contemporary life. He was among the first Japanese authors to write a novel in the financial-fiction genre. His varied repertoire includes historical thrillers, industrial crime fiction, and courtroom dramas. [Kirishima, Saburo]}

Equally important are Takagi’s portrayals of Japan and its citizens in the postwar era and in the decades of recovery, the 1950’s and 1960’s. Takagi’s cityscapes provide an image of a culture and a people in transition. In several works featuring State Prosecutor Sabur Kirishima, the courtroom becomes a microcosm of Japanese culture, a place where concerns about changing values and ethics, innovations in business and industry, and tensions between generations and between genders can be voiced, if not necessarily resolved.

The growing appeal of Takagi’s novels among English-language readers bodes well for additional translations of his detective novels, which range from police procedurals to accounts of industrial espionage. Critics have compared Takagi’s work favorably to that of another master of Japanese detective fiction, Seich Matsumoto, the popular author of Ten to sen (1958; Points and Lines, 1970) and Suna no utsuwa (1961; Inspector Imanishi Investigates, 1989).