Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Devotion of Suspect X

Author:        Keigo Higashino
Translators: Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander
Published:   2011
Publisher:    Little, Brown
Paperback: 374  pages

This book is a translation of the Japanese best selling  detective thriller "Yogisha X No Kenshin" which has sold over 2 million copies and also been made into a film.
The author Keigo Higashino has been a recipient of  Edogawa Rampo Award, a literary prize given to crime fiction writers in Japan.
Before this book  I had never read a literary work  from Japan.

Since detective fiction especially murder mystery is one of my favorite genres, I immediately signed up when BlogAdda offered this critically acclaimed best selling book to me for review.

The plot of the book runs as follows. Yasuko in the heat of the moment kills her ex-husband Togashi , when he turns up at her apartment and harasses her and her daughter. Ishigami, their  next door neighbor is in love with Yasuko, though he has not revealed his feelings towards her. He steps in to help her out. He disposes of the dead body. The body is discovered and identified by the police.  Soon they come to know that the body belongs to Togashi, the ex-husband of Yasuko. Detective Kusanagi of Tokyo police starts questioning Yasuko. But Ishigami who is a mathematics genius has already made full use of his ingenuity to protect Yasuko. He has  planted misleading clues, anticipated all the questions the police is likely to ask and coached Yasuko on how exactly to answer them.
Detective Kusanagi is baffled and stuck,. The case is not progressing at all. He seeks his friend Professor Yukawa's assistance. Yukawa  who has helped Kusanagi to solve several cases earlier joins the investigation. He also happens to be Ishigami's college friend and is equally brilliant.

I don't want to be spoil sport by revealing the entire story. Suffice to say that what follows is a very intriguing and exciting battle of wits between Ishigami and Yukawa where both try to guess one another's move and outsmart each other. Finally Yukawa solves the puzzle.

The story has a very surprising twist in the end, which I could never guess in spite of being a veteran reader of detective novels.  I did feel cheated a little bit. The hallmark of a great detective fiction is to lay out all the clues in front of the readers without concealing any facts and give them a fair chance to solve the mystery before they finish the book. This is where the book falls short. A vital information is disclosed to the readers only in the end. Thus the author had an unfair advantage over the readers.

Some readers may find this book a wee bit intellectually heavier than other detective fictions since there are several philosophical discussions between the two geniuses - Ishigami and Yukawa. But I rather liked them.. 

This book is an excellent fast paced page-turner. Translator has also done his job well, I felt I was reading an original book not a translated version.
This is just one of the novels in a series featuring Professor Yukawa. I look forward to read other novels in this series too when they are translated and published in English. This book has served as an appetizer for them.

Mystery lovers don't miss this book !

[By the way this is the fourth book review under BlogAdda's Book Review Program.
The other three books reviewed by me under this scheme are -  I Have a Dream, 7 Secrets of Vishnu, and Balasaraswati - Her Art and Life
Hats Off to BlogAdda for launching and sustaining this program for book lovers.
Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggaers. and get free books! Participate now!]


ekta khetan said...

Good one! Crisp and well crafted!

Unknown said...

Thanks @numerounity.

scribby said...

Nice review! and ditto on the book, I just read and loved it too!

Unknown said...

Thanks @scribby

Anish said...

I ordered immediately after reading your review. flipkart delivered in less than 24 hours. I started reading in the evening and went to sleep only after finishing it.
These days I decide to read or ignore based on your review only.
Keep up reading and writing reviews.

Unknown said...

Thanks Anish. I hope the other books which you ordered based on my review met your expectation.
Feel free to call/mail me anytime if you want to know more about any book I review.

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