Pro Bono

Justice at a Price

Pro Bono

By Seicho Matsumoto

Paperback, approx. 284 pages, 5.75 x 8.375 inches
978-1-934287-02-6 Buy.
U.S.$14.95 / CAN$16.95

“A master crime writer“* delivers a searing indictment of the Japanese legal system in his tale of a young woman seeking justice on her own terms.

Award-winner and best-selling Japanese author Seicho Matsumoto has found a strong following among American mystery fans for his detective and suspense fiction with a social conscience. In Pro Bono, available in English for the first time, readers again will enjoy Matsumoto'92s adept storytelling and his perceptive portrayals of ordinary people and the psychological underpinnings of their behavior.

Pro Bono centers around Kiriko Yanagida, a young woman from a small town in Japan, whose brother has confessed to a murder. Despite the confession, Kiriko is convinced of his innocence and travels to Tokyo at great expense to seek the help of a renowned criminal defense lawyer. To the high-profile (and high-priced) attorney Kinzo Otsuka, Kiriko'92s belief in her brother is just na'efve hope, and he dismisses her with the advice that she find a local lawyer to handle the case.

Kiriko is devastated and furious, sure that Otsuka'92s refusal is based on her inability to pay him. Now, with the realization that justice is only available to the rich and powerful, she plots to avenge her brother '96 entirely pro bono.

“Overall, Pro Bono is a fantastic novel. It may have been written back in 1959-1960 but by no means does the storyline'92s era impedes one'92s enjoyment...The setting is less important than the characters. It'92s the characters and the situations that really get interesting and Seicho Matsumoto slowly gets people into the whole criminal case, but then strays away from it, making you question why he leaves from the primary case involving her brother, until you realize what he is actually setting up for the primary characters. A shocking, well-written and overall, a wonderful crime novel. Highly recommended!”

“Seicho Matsumoto is one of the few Japanese authors of non-'93literary'94 fiction to receive attention overseas, even if most of that attention only came after his death. His writing is unadorned and brisk; his prose doesn'92t get in the way, but instead stands back to let the story he'92s telling take center stage...His biggest asset is a Hitchcock-esque ability to sketch out people turning, by degrees, to desperate behavior, and to make us believe in it the whole way down.”
Genji Press

Praise for the Author

“A master crime writer...Seicho Matsumoto’s thrillers teach Japanese strategy!”
The New York Times Book Review

“Seicho Matsumoto combines the prolific output of a Rex Stout with the literary qualities of Elmore Leonard.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Seicho Matsumoto (1909-1992) Native of Fukuoka Prefecture and prolific writer of socially oriented detective and mystery fiction, Matsumoto debuted as a writer after reaching the age of forty with the historically based Saigo’s Currency, 1950 and The Legend of the Kokura Diary, 1952. He then went on to establish his unique style of detective fiction with the works The Walls Have Eyes, 1957 and Points and Lines, 1958. Matsumoto made a name for himself as the writer of suspense novels that were accesible to all kinds of readership, but it was his historical novel The Ogura Diary Chronicles that earned him The 28th Akutagawa Prize, the Japanese equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The popular Japanese TV show “Black Leather Notebook“ was based on his novel of the same name, and several of his detective fiction works have been published in the US (SoHo Crime and Kodansha International).

The Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum in Kitakyushu City has commemorated the life and work of Seicho Matsumoto since 1998.