The evil mastermind known as the Fiend with Twenty Faces is fed up with Kogoro Akechi and those meddling kids from the Boy Detectives Club. Determined to exact his revenge, the Fiend embarks on a crime spree, stealing top secret documents and a priceless work of art, all the while kidnapping and tormenting anyone who stands in his way.
The ingenuity of this archvillain knows no bounds. Living up to his nickname, the Fiend dons one disguise after the other. He soon has the police chasing their tails, and even shows up to investigate his own crime! Obsessed with his vendetta, he pursues his quarry through haunted houses and limestone caverns inhabited by giant bats.
The Fiend won't be satisfied until he finally confronts on Detective Akechi and the members of the Boy Detectives Club in a life-or-death struggle deep underground in the dark.
Yokai Hakushi by Ranpo Edogawa was first published in 1938. The Japanese edition is out of copyright. The reference file used in this translation was downloaded from Aozora Bunko (the Blue Sky public domain library).
My translation is available from Amazon as a trade paperback and a Kindle ebook, and also on Kindle Unlimited.
Family names follow Western convention, with the surname given last. Long vowels have been shortened to a single character with no diacritics.
Following in the style of traditional Rakugo storytellers, Edogawa occasionally breaks the fourth wall to muse aloud about the unfolding events in the story. The translation will attempt to reflect this and other similar rhetorical quirks.
Eugene Woodbury graduated from Brigham Young University with degrees in Japanese and TESOL. He has twice been a Utah Original Writing Competition finalist and is a recipient of the Sunstone Foundation Moonstone Award for short fiction. He lives in Orem, Utah, where he works as a free-lance writer and translator.