Ghost Stories from About Town in the West

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Ghost Stories from About Town in the West
Author: Natsuhiko Kyōgoku
Specifications: ISBN  978-4048740548
611 pages
13.8 x 19.0 cm / 5.5 x 7.6 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation
Tokyo, 2003
Awards: Shibata Renzaburo Award, 2011
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This fifth volume in Natsuhiko Kyogoku's "Ghost Stories from About Town" series, set at the end of the Edo period (1603?1867), contains seven linked stories in which the stage has moved to Japan's western "second city" of Osaka. The central character is ladies' man Rinzo. While presenting himself as a stationer to the world at large, he also works behind the scenes for Nizo Ichimonjiya, who is Osaka's largest publisher as well as an underworld boss. To those in the know, Ichimonjiya is the fixer to whom they can go when all else fails. He can make their problems disappear, wipe away their crimes, expunge their pasts, arrange for people to be rubbed out, and even bring the dead back to life. But no benevolent godfather, he extracts his pound of flesh. In a manner reminiscent of the film Ghostbusters, Rinzo's band of rogues go nosing about where spectral activity has been reported?or at times even contrive such activity themselves?and expose the hidden crimes of someone or other involved. A swordsmith reports that a wolf has traded places with his beloved wife. Backstage at the puppet theater some puppets get into a sword fight. People who died in an epidemic ten years before rise again like zombies. The grandson of a sake brewer who fell into the river and was swept away in a violent storm returns safely five years later after being raised by tanuki. Rinzo and company take the incredible stories being told to heart, and set about solving the mystery of what really happened in each case. Delving deep into the deeds of men driven by love and hate, each story leaves readers gasping in surprise as the specters get their comeuppance.