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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Salvation of a Saint, by Keigo Higashino ($11.99)

This is the follow-up to The Devotion of Suspect X, a Japanese mystery nominated for several mystery awards last year. Manabu Yukawa, nicknamed “Galileo” for his scientific perspicacity by the police force he helps on occasion, returns, as do his police force liaisons, Kusanagi and Utsumi.

This time it is the murder of Yoshitaka Mashiba, the CEO of a company, that brings the team together. Although there is a strong hint at the beginning of the book that his wife, Ayane, murdered him, there are enough fingers pointing at other solutions. Besides, Ayane was miles away visiting her parents when the murder occurred. 

 More a traditional mystery than most “mystery” books put out in the U.S., Yukawa represents the best homage to heroes such as Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe. He is eccentric and brilliant like those detectives and in addition, as we saw in Devotion, vulnerable. Although Yukawa’s character and the plotting of the book are nods to British and American creations, Salvation is very Japanese. The societal differences in the story will give an American reader pause, especially when contemplating the solution which seems rooted in Asian culture. 

I thought this book was unusual, clever, and entertaining. While Devotion was Yukawa’s story, Salvation is Kusanagi and Utsumi’s. Yukawa was the protagonist and antagonist of Devotion. In Salvation, he is the wise man on the mountain, while Kusanagi and Utsumi do the heavy climbing.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the best mystery novels (to have come out of Japan) I had read this year. It knocked me out of my senses for its razor-sharp suspense in the story.

    The uniqueness of the story is that you get to know who the murderer is right at the start of the novel, but the fact that the maths teacher, Ishigami (Suspect X) is so blind in his sympathetic devotion for the woman who murders that he is ready to go great lengths and do just about anything to save the woman he loves and her daughter from going to jail. The plot is ingeniously constructed and is perfect for a thrilling reading. The Devotion of Suspect X is a grand treat for mystery novels fans. If Hollywood plans for a movie based on this novel then why not? Let’s see a movie come out of it. I already have a name for the film version: “Suspect X".