Hajime Kindaichi is a world-class underachiever. At school, his only real friend is model student, Miyuki-- so it comes as quite a surprise when he gets invited to a classmate's wedding. But Kindaichi notices there's something a little odd about the bride's hometown and the six gorgeous mansions built there. His suspicions are confirmed when the owners of the mansions are gruesomely murdered, one by one, by someone calling himself the "Seventh Mummy." Could this idyllic mountain village be cursed? The deeper Kindaichi digs into the town's past, the more he discovers that the only real monsters lurking here are human.
Like the first Kindaichi Case File story, The Mummy’s Curse is a blend of clever mystery and ridiculous melodramatic revelations. I was thinking more about what makes this such a fun series, though it’s silly to the core. I think it must be the same way that the Sherlock Holmes stories are fun. They’re ridiculous, too, but they’re written in such a way that you can sink fully into Holmes and Watson’s world without worrying too much about whether things make complete sense or not.
The mysteries in the Kindaichi series tend to follow the same patterns, which can be annoying if you read too many of them in a row. Usually there’s a locked room aspect, multiple people dying over the course of a few chapters, and then a summation gathering at the end (where yet another person may or may not die). The fun part comes from the (ridiculous) situations Kindaichi and Miyuki get themselves into, and the particulars of the case.
The Mummy’s Curse was fun because a) creepy village, b) creepy people living in the creepy village (one of them wears a bag over his head!), c) Romeo/Juliet thing (only it was between a student and a teacher which was gross), and d) a mummy’s curse. How could it NOT be a good time?
It also repeated some of the important aspects of the series that showed up in the first book. There isn’t much character development in these books– I suppose there’s not enough time or space when you’re chasing (what you think is) a murdering ghost/zombie/mummy thing– but the murderers always have more than just bloodlust on their minds. They’re villains, but they’re layered and sympathetic in some ways.
Kindaichi himself sees that and responds to it in a way that is very gratifying for me, as a reader. I don’t particularly like the macho, wise-cracking sort of detectives like you see on Law & Order (I HATE when they make jokes about dead people), so I very much like how Kindaichi isn’t afraid to empathize with the murderer, or to cry when they succumb to their self-destruction.
He doesn’t let them get away with their crimes, however, so no worries there. The Mummy’s Curse has a satisfying (if mildly heartbreaking) solution and only about 3/4th of the villagers have to die before it happens!
Read: January 05, 2014
I kinda think that if I’d been reading this as novels instead of as comics I’d be way less lenient with the wacky plot points. Like, I don’t think even Agatha Christie murdered off half her cast over the course of one mystery, did she? And yet that’s basically what happens in every Kindaichi story (so far). Not just one murder, but a procession of murders. And yet I’m fine with it! Maybe because it works so well to ramp up the tension, do you think?