The Decagon House Murders 1, review: a crime story suspended between two worlds

The Decagon House Murders 1, review: a crime story suspended between two worlds

The Decagon House Murders 1, review

Summer is tinged with yellow and mystery with The Decagon House Murders (Jukkakukan no Satsujin), a manga adaptation of the novel by Yukito Ayatsuji of the same name. The manga is illustrated by Hiro Kiyohara and was serialized in the Kodansha Monthly Afternoon manga magazine seinen from August 2019 to April 2022, with its chapters collected in four tankōbon volumes starting in October 2021. Yukito Ayatsuji and Hiro Kiyohara are already known for the famous and appreciated Another. Both this latest series and The Decagon House Murders are published in Italy by Star Comics. What awaits us once The Decagon House Murders begins? Mystery, gloomy charm and crimes that just want to be solved: a story that from many points of view is reminiscent of the works of Agatha Christie and one in particular.

The Decagon House Murders - Star Comics, review “The plan is ready. Now all that remains is to wait for them to fall into the trap. Of course, what awaits them is death. Unaware of everything and without the slightest suspicion they will arrive there .. In the decagonal trap ... "

The Decagon House Murders 1: premeditated lookout?

The story begins with a murder, which remained unsolved. About a year ago, in Tsunojima, in the Gulf of J-Saki, the residence of the solitary and famous architect Seiji Nakamura, called “Villa Azzurra”, was completely burned down. After the fire was put out, four bodies were found, Seiji's wife, the two servants and Nakamura himself, all of whom died from different causes. The two servants were found bound in their own room with their heads split with ax blows. His wife Kazue was found in the same room strangled with a thread of rope or cable and with her left hand mutilated and the latter was never found. Eventually, Seiji was burned alive, as his body was doused with kerosene. Massive doses of sleeping pills were found in all four bodies. The only survivor the gardener, disappeared into thin air after the murder.

The Decagon House Murders - Star Comics, review Now, seven students from K University, all members of the Circle of the yellow, they went to the island, in a strange building with a peculiar structure, known as the Decagonal House to solve the mystery of Nakamura's death. In fact, on the island, rumor has it that his ghost manifests itself on rainy days. The following day the seven boys found seven plaques on the table, each with a different word: five with the words "first victim", "second victim" up to the fifth, two bearing the words "murderer" and "investigator". At the same time, the other two members of the club who have decided not to go into retreat receive mysterious letters claiming to come from Nakamura and accusing the club of the murder of his daughter Chiori. Doubt begins to creep between the characters, until the first victim is decided. Who is the author of the letters? Is there a reason why the seven boys went to retreat on the island of the murder? What if Nakamura wasn't really dead? This opens up a deep mystery that only the boys of the yellow circle can solve, but be careful, because they could be the next victims.

The Decagon House Murders 1: a thriller full of mystery and of charm, but…

The Decagon House Murders 1 presents itself as an intriguing story, which throws out fundamental clues from the very first pages to solve the mystery. There is a sense of anticipation mixed with anxiety because the reader immediately realizes that something is about to happen and that the seven boys are about to enter a place that seems to have no way out. A dark and disturbing story, a calculated murder, a premeditated revenge thought up by someone who is perhaps already dead. The reader, together with the protagonists of the story, puts himself in the role of the investigator, begins to ask himself questions and to wonder who is weaving the sheets of this apparently impossible to solve mystery.

Interesting fact that we do not know the real name of the seven boys who went to the island: each in fact, precisely because a member of the Yellow Club, has taken the name of one of the most famous mystery writers in history: Ellery Queen, Gaston Leroux, Agatha Christie, S. S. Van Dine, John Dickson Carr , Edgar Allan Poe, Baroness Orczy. These characters are led to play a role: five of them will be the victims, one the murderer and the seventh the investigator. Five apparent victims who will be eliminated throughout history, as in Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, until none of them are alive.

The Decagon House Murders - Star Comics, review Those who have read Ten Little Indians cannot help but find many similarities in The Decagon House Murders, perhaps too many. The story, apparently original and certainly well structured, recalls the plot of Christie's book with some tricks. The protagonists of the novel, unlike the boys in the manga, are invited to the island of the Soldier for various reasons by a certain Mr. Owen, owner of the only house on the island. In each room there is a nursery rhyme that recites the story of ten little Indians who die one after the other, in different ways. In the dining room they find the statuettes corresponding to the ten Indians of the nursery rhyme. A bit like what happens to the protagonists of the manga, who find plates with the role they will have to play. The anxiety, the anguish they feel is the same: who will be the victim? And who manipulates the game? Is it possible that there is a "traitor" between them?

Different from the Christie story is that two boys, still belonging to the club, who have decided not to participate in the retreat, receive the threatening letters. Is it possible that someone has observed the movements of young people and premeditated everything in detail? The only certain thing is that the common thread of the story is the death of Chiori, also a member of the club and daughter of Nakamura. Akira then decides to go and ask questions to the brother of the deceased Nakamura and together with his friend, Kyoshi and Morisu, another member of the circle, who have decided to solve the mystery.

The structure of the story is interesting. which comes with two different narrative lines and three points of view: on the one hand the seven boys on the island who will have to try to survive a game bigger than themselves, then Akira, Morisu and Kyoshi who will have to fight against time to reveal the sender of the letters and then the reader himself, almost omniscient, who from his privileged point of view, as he can follow the development of both narrative lines, begins to lay the foundations to solve the mystery.

Some more information on the manga

The Decagon House Murders is a structurally well thought-out story in which the aura of mystery shines through on every single page. The latter is certainly well represented not only in the chosen narrative itself, but also in the detailed and sensual drawings by Hiro Kiyohara. The surrounding landscape and the environment in which the story comes to life is also rich in details. Every detail is taken care of to the minimum perfection because everything can prove to be a fundamental clue to solve the mystery.

As for the aesthetic aspect, the manga is presented in a larger format than the tankōbon, with a dust jacket on which all seven main characters are drawn and on the back streaks of blood that prepare the reader for the sense of restlessness contained in the story.

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