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The Master Key (Togawa novel)

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Wikipedia article


'The Master Key' (, 'inaru gen'ei') is a 1962 novel by the Japanese novelist Masako Togawa which received the Edogawa Rampo Prize upon publication. The English translation by Simon Grove was first published by Dodd, Mead & Co in 1985.

It is a mystery story set in the 1950's postwar Ikebukuro, Japan with the setting of K Apartment for Ladies, reserved only for women. Many of the aging residents have their own secrets bound to the master key, which opens all of the 150 rooms in the K Apartment. All the secrets start to unravel when the building is slated for construction work to be moved four meters with the residents inside.


Major Characters:

* 'Katsuko Tojo/Haru Santo' - older receptionist with a limp/white haired mysterious resident.

* 'Kaneko Tamura' - younger receptionist.

* 'Chikako Ueda' - previous school teacher who waits for her dead husband.

* 'Toyoto Munekata' - professor guarding her dead husband's manuscripts.

* 'Noriko Ishiyama' - eccentric woman known to other residents as Ms. Bladderwrack who forages for fishbones at night.

* 'Suwa Yatabe' - violinist who previously stole a Guarnerius violin from her teacher.

* 'Yoneko Kimura' - retired school teacher who writes letters to her previous students.

Minor Characters:

* 'Yasuyo Aoki' - mysterious guest of Chikako Ueda.

* 'Keiko Kawauchi (Mrs. Kraft)' - divorced from Major Kraft after disappearance of their son.

* 'Major D. Kraft' - U.S. Army major who returned to the U.S. after divorce from Keiko Kawauchi.

* 'George Kraft' - son of Major Kraft, reported kidnapped and missing.

* 'Priest' - leader of the Three Spirit Faith cult, performs seemingly miraculous revelations.

* 'Thumbelina the Vestal' - small statured woman who is the medium of the sance.


* Togawa, Masako. 'The Master Key.' Translated by Grove, Simon. Dodd, Mead & Co. ISBN 9781782273639


Category:Japanese novels

Category:1962 novels

Category:Novels set in Tokyo

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