Tokyo Express by Seicho Matsumoto

I was browsing in the bookshop in London St. Pancras train station in November and thought it would be apt (or ironic?) to buy Tokyo Express before taking the train to my hometown on my holiday from my home in Japan last month. But halfway through the 1958 whodunnit I was sure I’d already read it. It had a very familiar theme of young lovers being found dead, the importance of train timetables to the killer’s alibi and the solution came as no surprise, although the details were different to my addled memory. And it turns out this was his first published novel, which I had read a couple of years ago under a different title, Points and Lines. Still, a nicely done whodunnit, evocative of a postwar Japan that you can still see glimpses of today from the train windows. Even if I couldn’t remember it.

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No. 11 of 50 books I intend to read and review in 2022.

I’m Patrick Sherriff, an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at my conversation school in Abiko, Japan, I write and illustrate textbooks for non-native speakers of English, release Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, paint, sketch and write essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good writing in English, often about about Japan, art, crime fiction and teaching.