Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino translated by Alexander O Smith with Elye J Alexander, February 2013, 376 pages, Little, Brown, ISBN: 1408704196

SALVATION OF A SAINT is the follow-up to THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X and again involves Tokyo Detective Kusanagi and his friend Yukawa, the physicist, aka "Detective Galileo".

Yoshitaka Mashiba is found dead in his home, poisoned. His wife, Ayane, is away visiting family. It doesn't appear to be suicide but who and more critically how could he have been poisoned as there's no trace of a visitor.

Kusanagi and his team are called in. His team includes a woman detective, Kaoru Utsumi, who soon sees that Kusanagi is somewhat taken with the widow Ayane and is worried he's not thinking straight. So she goes behind his back and consults Yukawa. This secrecy doesn't last long however and soon Yukawa is “on the case”, offering suggestions and carrying out experiments in his lab. Yoshitaka's personality and particular life goals are unravelled and a motive of sorts is revealed but can Yukawa crack what could be the perfect murder?

I really like this sort of crime novel – a mystery, not bloody with a puzzle to be unravelled. And what a puzzle! I liked the new no-nonsense character Utsumi and the fact that this is more of a police procedural than the previous book so you get to know Kusanagi a little better, though the focus is still more on plotting than characterisation. I felt this was paced slightly better than SUSPECT X - I didn't feel it begin to drag even though on the face of it it isn't a wide-ranging investigation and the suspect pool is very limited. It's a fast read due to the large amount of dialogue (and the large print and wide margins don't hurt) as well as the intricacy of the plot pulling you through.

SALVATION OF A SAINT is a very absorbing who/how-dunnit and I hope there's more in this series to come from Keigo Higashino.


Harvee said...

I read both and liked them quite a bit. Good plots and characters.

Anonymous said...

Karen - Thanks for the fine review. I've been hearing a lot of good things about this one and I ought to read more Japanese crime fiction...

Unknown said...

Thanks for pointing these out to me. I will look for them.