Gokumon-tō, the gates of hell

The second book of the adventures of Japan’s most famous detective, Kosuke Kindaichi. The first one, The case of the Honjin Murder, took us to a large mansion in Okayama; this time, the setting for the frightening cases the detective must solve is an island in the middle of Seto’s inland sea. It is the post-war era and Japan is beginning to recover from the ravages of combat, and surviving soldiers are returning home.

Precisely, Kindaichi was one of the recruits and being on the battlefield he meets young Chimata and they become good friends. Unfortunately, Chimata dies just as the war is about to end and on his deathbed, he entrusts the lives of his sisters to Kosuke; apparently, Chimata knew about Kosuke’s abilities as a detective, and that is why he confesses to him that his sisters are in danger of death. Thus begins the eccentric detective’s journey to the island of Gokumon, Chimata’s home.

Literally translated, ‘Gokumon-to’ means “the gates of hell”; a name attributed to the island since it was first populated by exiled samurai, thieves, and mainly pirates. However, at the time the story is set in, it is a fishing village that carries the karma of its ancestors. Chimata’s family, the Kitos, is the wealthiest and therefore the head of the Kito’s family is considered the master and lord of the fishermen.

It is mentioned in the book that the people who live on the island are usually very suspicious and hurtful towards foreigners, however, they conceal a little their displeasure towards Kindaichi since our detective was hosted by the abbot of the village. And as these people have an enormous respect for religion, they are very obedient to the abbot’s orders. How is it that Kosuke is hosted by the village abbot? Well, by coincidence, they meet each other on the ship that was taking them to the island. Before dying, Chimata leaves a letter addressed to the abbot, the mayor, and the village doctor, that is why Kosuke does not take long to let the abbot know about the death of his friend Chimata.

Soon after Kosuke settles on the island, a series of strange murders that seem to have been planned by someone who has lost his/her mind begin to occur. As a result, most villagers have the newcomer Kosuke Kindaichi as their main suspect. This will have serious consequences as our beloved detective will not be able to do his job well. Thus begins Kindaichi’s mission to discover who is behind these terrible and curious crimes. He will then have to test his deductive abilities in order to decipher whether the struggle for the power of the island or the secrets behind it have an influence on these murders.

This work is truly exquisite from beginning to end; the location chosen by the author, Seishi Yokomizo, to develop this story adds a distinct and special touch to the novel. Kosuke Kindaichi’s skills will be put to a very big test; would you like to accompany him on this new adventure?