Abacus | November 2019 | 336 pgs
Translated from the Japanese by Giles Murray
Keigo Higashino has written two series featuring Detective Galileo and Detective Kaga respectively, as well as a few other stand-alones. Although I've only read three of his books (including this) so far, I've enjoyed his writing style, the riddle-like mysteries and the well crafted plots. This is the second appearance of Detective Kaga after the previous book, Malice.
Detective Kyochiro Kaga of the Tokyo Police Department has just been transferred to a new precinct in Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. A newcomer himself, he is assigned to investigate the murder case of a woman who was strangled to death. Although Kaga gives people the impression of down-to-earth and easy-going, deep down he is a meticulous man who has a sharp eye in details and logic, and most of all he knows how to get people to talk through his gentle and cordial demeanour.
The victim was a 45-year-old divorced woman named Mineko Mitsui who moved to Nihonbashi a few months ago. Upon initial interview and investigation, Kaga understand from a friend of Mitsui that she was supposed to meet at Mitsui's house at 7pm but had last minute pushed their appointment to an hour later due to an unforeseen circumstances. When she reached Mitsui's house, she found the door unlocked and Mitsui was sprawled dead in the living room. The police couldn't find any forensic evidence but Kaga did notice a few interesting items in the house which spurs him into looking at some of the businesses at the Nihonbashi area. As Kaga visits the shops and interviews the owners subsequently, he comes to learn a bit of their stories even if some appear to be unrelated to the case. In the end, Kaga succeeded not only in solving the case but also impressing the reader with his patience and his scrupulous attention and methods applied during his investigations.
As much as this is a crime fiction, it has an intriguing array of characters which would make an interesting study of human behaviorism. Each segment in the book tells the story of a character and although they are rather short and some may appear unconnected to the case, the reader will soon understand about the linkage and the actual role they play towards the end. This wasn't a fast-paced read in terms of actions and thrills but it was an intriguing whodunit and a clever detective whose perspective is very different from his peers.
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