Bara Musume (The Rose Girl)

Bara Musume

薔薇娘 [The Rose Girl]

First published in Japan in 1891. Detective story set in Paris. Story source: see note below.

Concerns an assassination attempt on the life of the French Crown Prince by an anarchist disguised as a flower girl luring the victim to a lonely place where he is to be dispatched by poison gas. Full of action, contains account of nightlife in nineteenth century Paris, brandy, morphine, an attractive flower girl, and a duel with swords.

(Morioka and Sasaki)

The Chief of Police in Paris, Kawamichi Shô, learns that the German political offender and scientist, Nishinô Takeshi has entered the country with the intention of assassinating the French crown prince. He puts his detective Ômura on the case. Ômura learns that the beautiful flower seller, Ohana, is the younger sister of Nishinô, that the youthful crown prince is fond of this girl, and that she is conspiring with Nishinô. Ômura has one of his men pose as a ruffian and during a faked altercation, intervenes to apprehend the distracted Ohana. He takes Ohana to her home and gains her confidence. The flower shop owner is her husband, Mr. Kumoi. He learns that Nishinô is staying somewhere as a boarder in a lodging house and that they are in communication with him. Kumoi is a former sumo wrestling instructor and has come to Paris to defeat the ‘Masked Wrestler’. There is a hole in a park which will be used as a hiding place when the crown prince goes for a walk. One day, there is a sumo match and Ômura, who is the real ‘Masked Wrestler’, beats Kumoi who is hospitalised. He learns that at 2 p.m. Ômura was to hide in the hole and kill the crown prince with poison gas. He arrests the accomplices, but the flower seller Ohana escapes.

(Source: Itô)

Note: According to Itô, although this tale is based on a story titled Kokuji Tantei (State Detective) by Yûhô Kikuike, published in 1898 in Ôsaka mainichi shinbun, it may have originally come from another European source.