I made several attempts to read Murder in the Crooked House, but it irritated me so much that I stopped even before the famed detective came on the scene. It was published in 1982, but it reminded me more of the super-complicated mysteries of 40 or 50 years earlier that concentrate mostly on the puzzle.
First, Shimada introduces the maze-like house built by the eccentric millionaire Kozaburo Hamamota, a house so absurdly unlikely that it is laughable. Then, he introduces us to a plethora of characters, barely bothering to differentiate them. By 100 pages in, I could only tell apart a handful of them.
Without further ado, including any explanation of the relationships between the characters, he has a strange phantom appear at an upper-floor window followed by the murder of the chauffeur. Two bumbling detectives arrive.
Even the way the characters are introduced, with one character giving an elaborate introduction of everyone else, seems totally contrived. I give up.