Shogo Utano 歌野晶午
Shogo Utano (1961–) was inspired like many mystery writers of his generation by Edogawa Rampo's Boy Detectives series. A job in an editorial production office after university reignited his childhood passion for mysteries and he began writing them himself. His first book was 1988's Nagai ie no satsujin (The Long House Murders), which came out with the enthusiastic backing of his mentor Soji Shimada, a big name in Japan's mystery-writing world. Hazakura no kisetsu ni kimi o omou to iu koto (When the Cherry Blossoms Fall, I'll Think of You) was awarded both the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Novels and the Honkaku Mystery Grand Prize in 2004, became a bestseller, and propelled Utano into the ranks of Japan's most popular authors. He is a master of deceptive narratives that culminate in hammer-punch surprises. His other books include Sekai no owari, arui wa hajimari (The End—or Beginning—of the World, 2002), Jeshika ga kakenuketa nananenkan ni tsuite (Jessica's Seven Frantic Years, 2004), and Joo-sama to watashi (The Queen and I, 2005).