東野 圭吾's tribute to 江戸川 乱歩 and 松本 清張
The page takes a character on a walk to Seicho Garden Park that passes a road leading to Edogawa. Edogawa is one of Tokyo's twenty-three special wards. More to the point, Seicho Matsumoto (1909-1992) and Edogawa Rampo (1894-1965) were two of the most popular and influential crime writers in twentieth-century Japan. Edogawa Rampo (it's a pen name, and yes, it really is a Japanese rendering of Edgar Allan Poe) promoted Japanese crime fiction tirelessly and founded the group that later became Mystery Writers of Japan. He admired Arthur Conan Doyle in addition to Poe, and his fiction, criticism, and organizing "played a major role in the development of Japanese mystery fiction," according to Wikipedia.
Seicho Matsumoto was a kind of Jean-Patrick Manchette, a writer of spare, bleak, socially acute narratives credited with breaking new ground in narrative technique:
"Dispensing with formulaic plot devices such as puzzles," Wikipedia says, "Seichō incorporated elements of human psychology and ordinary life. In particular, his works often reflect a wider social context and postwar nihilism that expanded the scope and further darkened the atmosphere of the genre. His exposé of corruption among police officials as well as criminals was a new addition to the field."
Seichō Matsumoto memorial museum,
Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
If all this is mere coincidence, the coincidence is suggestive. Let's assume it's deliberate and once again ask this diverting question: How have crime writers paid tribute in their stories to predecessors and colleagues?
(Here's an old post about Seicho Matsumoto, my reading of whom predates this blog. Rereading the post reminds me of what a bracing writer Matsumoto was.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2012