Sunday, May 5, 2013

Book Review: Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

First of all, a big thanks to BlogAdda for providing me a wonderful opportunity to review this book.


As the back cover proclaims -

When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion. All clues point to Ayane being the logical suspect, but how could she have committed the crime when she was hundreds of miles away? 

As Tokyo police detective Kusanagi tries to unpick a seemingly unrelated sequence of events he finds himself falling for Ayane. When his judgement becomes dangerously clouded his assistant must call on an old friend for help; it will take a genius to unravel the most spectacular web of deceit they have ever faced... 

Salvation of a Saint is all about a perfectly crafted murder mystery with the strings of detective thriller fiction. This is the second novel of the Japanese author Keigo Higashino, whose first book The Devotion of Suspect X was applauded by critics and readers alike. The current book is translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander.


The main characters of this murder mystery are Ayane Mashiba, a woman whose husband is murdered while she is out of town; Hiromi Wakayama, her young apprentice with a secret; Detective Kusanagi, a brilliant detective with a soft heart; Detective Utsumi, a newly recruited but talented detective working with Kusanagi; and among others, Prof. Yukawa aka Detective Galileo as he is referred to by his admirers, a physicist with a hobby of solving utmost difficult murder cases for the police dept. with his genius aplomb.


The story begins with a not-so-normal conversation between husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Mashiba. The cause is explained. Afterwards, they host a lively party. The wife goes out of the town to see her ailing father and it is then, the husband is found murdered by her apprentice Hiromi. A perfect setting. A murder by poison in the coffee. Thus follows the theme of the story - solving of this murder mystery by detectives Kusanagi and Utsumi. As the investigation propels forward, Utsumi finds his senior detective Kusanagi falling for one of the leading suspects, Ayane Mashiba.

It is then Detective Utsumi requests Kusanagi's friend and local police department's old saviour, Prof. Yukawa, to help her solve the case, as he earlier used to thus resulting in his nickname Detective Galileo (in the first novel of the author). As the investigation progresses, the case gets complicated as both the suspects come out with either with a perfect alibi or a perfect reason for no-kill. Detective Kusanagi, though smitten by the charm of Ayane, then starts investigating on different lines, exploring the murdered Yoshitaka Mashiba's past life and linking it to the current case.

On the other hand, Detective Utsumi with her female intuition, continues suspecting Ayane of the murder and along with Yukawa go out all the way to prove how the murder was committed. It takes the Utsumi's observational logic coupled with unparalleled thinking and scientific curiosity of Yukawa and aided by Kusanagi's investigation skills to finally unearth the whole case as a perfect murder mystery.


The narrative style is easy to follow and the plot is intricately woven.

The character development, though seemingly unintended, goes on nicely throughout the story.

The logics, reasonings, experments, tricks used/displayed by the investigating people is bound to capture the interest of any murder mystery lover.


Well not much, except that the continuous monotonous pace (neither fast nor slow, just same narrative tone) throughout the book makes it difficult to continue reading for a long time. The intermittent breaks between consecutive sittings get necessary and frequent; atleast for me, it was like that.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good book, particulary a must-read for murder mystery detective thriller lovers out there.

My rating: 4 out of 5 :)

Note: This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!

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