Tattoo Murder Case [NOOK Book]


Miss Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs left behind. Gone is that part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered by her late father. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor, must assist his detective brother who is in charge of the case, because he was Kinue's secret lover and the first person on the murder scene.

The Tattoo Murder ...
See more details below
Tattoo Murder Case

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.49 price
(Save 27%)$13.00 List Price


Miss Kinue Nomura survived World War II only to be murdered in Tokyo, her severed limbs left behind. Gone is that part of her that bore one of the most beautiful full-body tattoos ever rendered by her late father. Kenzo Matsushita, a young doctor, must assist his detective brother who is in charge of the case, because he was Kinue's secret lover and the first person on the murder scene.

The Tattoo Murder Case was originally published in 1948; this is the first English translation.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Clever, kinky, highly entertaining.
Library Journal
A female's limbs and head are found in a locked bathroom, and all the doors and windows of the house are locked. The dismembered body is discovered by two admirers, Professor Heishiro Hayakawa, a collector of tattoo skins, and Kenzo Matsushita, the nave, lovestruck younger brother of Detective Chief Inspector Daiyu Matsushita. The police's problems are compounded by two additional murders. A tattooed manthe brother of the first victimis found dead and has been skinned, and victim number three, the jealous lover of the woman, is found dead from a gunshot to the head. Frustrated by their inability to solve these crimes, the brothers Matsushita, who have joined forces, enlist the services of Kyosuke Kamizu, the "Boy Genius." Kamizu methodically analyzes the deaths, interviews the prime suspects, and quietly solves the case. Intermingled among the twisted plot is the Japanese tradition of myth and superstition, ritual, male and female relationships, the strong tradition of family and family honor, and the relationships of younger brothers to older brothers. Takagi, Japan's most acclaimed mystery writer, has created a first-rate mystery, excellently translated into English.Janis Williams, Shaker Heights P.L., Ohio
J. Ashley
If you like classic mystery, read this book.The world of post-WWII Japan is brought to life in all its contrasts, bombed-out buildings next to perfectly preserved houses, people longing to return to normal life in the middle of chaos....If you're interested in tatoos, have one, or are considering getting one, read this book.
Mystery Magazine Online
Kirkus Reviews
If the title sounds like S.S. Van Dine gone Japanese, it should: This first English translation of Takagi's 1947 novel (first of a series starring his improbable Boy Genius, forensic medical student Kyosuke Kamizu) has all the mind-boggling braininess and dazzling artifice of mystery's Golden Age, spiced with voyeuristic close-ups of a dying art in which postwar Japan remains supreme: full-body tattoos. The plot focuses on the three luckless children of nonpareil tattoo artist Horiyasu, each of them tattooed with a mystical totem—a snake, a frog, a slug—whose combination, even one to each blood relative, spells trouble. Trouble wastes no time in finding Horiyasu's daughter Kinue Nomura, whose fears that she's being stalked by a killer are fatally confirmed when her brand-new lover, military medic Kenzo Matsushita, finds her dead and dismembered inside her locked bathroom. Just as Kinue's death is only the first in a series of grisly tattoo-oriented killings, the bizarre twist Takagi puts on this dismemberment—Kinue's tattooed torso is missing, leaving only her head and limbs—is only the first of a series of Grand Guignol touches evidently calculated to outdo John Dickson Carr in both ghoulishness and ingenuity. Intricate, fantastic, and utterly absorbing. More, please.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569479322
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2003
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 508,710
  • File size: 703 KB

Meet the Author

Akimitsu Takagi was born in 1920 and graduated from Kyoto University. His first job was as an engineer for the Nakajima Aircraft Company. He won the Japan Mystery Writers Club Award and wrote fifteen popular mysteries.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Outstanding classical locked-room mystery from post-WW2 Japan

    While I disagree with both previous reviewers as to their characterization of this novel -- I am a huge fan of William Gibson's "Neuromancer, and this book is nothing like that outside of atmosphere; also, I am a huge fan of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, and Akimitsu Takagi does not possess their writing style -- I must say that their opinions as to the quality of this mystery is right on the mark. Reading, much as suggested both within the book and in the blurb, like a classical John Dickson Carr "Sir Gordon Merrivale" or S.S. Van Dine "Philo Vance" mystery, "The Tattoo Murder Case" has every element needed for a classic mystery of the 1930s, including a femme fatale, heavy-handed investigator, helpless sap with more than a hint of intelligence, gigolo, and, last but not least, effete genius to solve the case...with a surprising touch of sexuality and the outre as well. While it is difficult to say that the characters are more than standard mystery character ciphers, and the mechanics of the plot is no more conventional than any other locked-room mystery, focussing on this would do Takagi's novel a disservice, precisely because it IS a fantastic representative of this sub-genre, with a fantastic capture of post-WW2 Tokyo besides. Not once did the book's near-obsessional information of tattoos seem unnecessary or forced; indeed, it is funny to read this book now in a culture where tattoos are found on the bodies of cinematic superstars like Megan Fox and on reality TV shows, and not merely on drunken sailors or criminal reprobates, with all of the ill feelings and opinions society holds of their wearers (and which I for the most part agree with). I suppose the only thing that I found disappointing was that Kenzo Matush-ta, the book's seeming protagonist in the starting pages, was not the one in the end who ended the mystery...but then, Dr. Watson rarely did as well. Overall, I found "The Tattoo Murder Case" a splendid addition to my mystery library, and in the end I can give this book the highest recommendation possible, as it makes you want to have been present for the events unfolding therein.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    Tres Cool and Ahead of It's Time

    While this book was actually written in 1948, you will be amazed by how utterly modern it is. The translation is perfect and the mood is very reminiscent of William Gibson, ala 'Neuromancer.' It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Gibson read this book before writing about his future Tokyo.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2003

    Noir in Tokyo

    If you like the authors who started this genre: Raymond Chandler and Dashiel Hammet, then this book is a *must read*. *Tattoo Murder* has all the great mystery and dark irony of Chandler and Hammet stories, plus a healthy dose of Sherlock Holmsian deductive reasoning. All these classical elements come together in a story that retains a wonderful flavor of Japan. This book gives a fascinating glimpse into Japanese culture, the Yakuza, and tattoos

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)