Japanese Book Review: 冷たい密室と博士たち – 森 博嗣

tusmetaimisshitsu(tsumetai misshitsu to hakasetachi – Mori Hiroshi)

This is the second book in the Saikawa and Moe series, which starts with Subete ga F ni naru

According to an Amazon Review this was actually the first book that Mori wrote in the series, but they were released in a different order by the editors. I thought that the first one was very focused on the mechanics of the mystery, but this one was even more focused, and there wasn’t a whole lot in the story to flesh out the characters. There is even an email that describes each suspect in bullet points. It hard to write any more directly than that. I think the style difference between the first and second books makes more sense when you realize this one was actually written first.

I had no idea how the murders happened before they were explained, however I did gain some experience on how this kind of novel works and what to look for, so next time I think I will have a better chance. I think the fun of this kind of novel comes in trying to solve it yourself before the explanation. Fortunately Mori is extremely prolific, so there can be many more tries.

I like the academic/nerdy style of the book. Many technical terms are dropped, even though technical understanding is not at all necessary for the story. I like picking up vocabulary for things like finite element method, Fourier transform, differential equations, and more. Also, even though there is an oscilloscope on the cover, this book centers around a group of civil engineers.

Since Moe is supposed to be a brilliant, I wish she wasn’t used as the character for the non-technical person to identify with. She is supposed to be in undergrad, but it would be nice if she was portrayed as having technical knowledge above her academic status.

I like for books to be encouraging for women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math. I don’t think that the women are portrayed as people you would want to be in this story, but then again, the men aren’t either, so I suppose it’s balanced.

It is fun to see them logging in to their campus network on telnet, which really dates the book (1996). I enjoy interacting with computers over the command line (using ssh of course). There’s not actually any other good reason that I’m self-hosting this blog…

I like how Mori clearly lays out a complicated situation that has a single solution and gives the reader an opportunity to solve it in this book. I look forward to the next challenge, and hope I can solve it before everything is revealed.