Monday, February 10, 2020

Book Review: Malice by Keigo Higashino

Malice (Detective Kaga, #1)

Author:  Keigo Higashino
Publisher:  Minotaur Books (1996)
288 pages

A category in one of the challenges I am participating in is "a foreign (non-western) book", so when  I came across this book while at the library it caught my attention.  After reading the summary on the back cover, I thought I would give it a try.  What an interesting mystery it was!

The story begins from the viewpoint of Osamu Nonoguchi.  We know this because each chapter has a title and subtitle that tells the reader whose viewpoint it is from and what it will be about.  Mr. Nonoguchi is visiting his friend, bestselling author Kunihiko Hidaka.  The two have known one another since middle school.  Mr. Hidaka and his wife are moving to Canada in a few days, so Mr. Nonguchi has come to pay a visit and discuss some things.  Later in the day, when Mr. Nonoguchi has returned home, he receives a phone call from his friend stating that they need to talk about some things and could he come back to his house.  Mr. Nonoguchi agrees and they establish a time to meet.  When Mr. Nonoguchi arrives at the specified time, he finds all the lights off in the house and the car in the driveway.  He knocks on the door and gets no answer.  He knows Mr. Hidaka's wife is staying in a nearby hotel to be joined by Mr. Hidaka after he finishes up at the house.  Mr. Nonoguchi calls the hotel to see if Mr. Hidaka is there.  When his wife learns that he is not answering, she is concerned and returns to the house.  Mr. Nonguchi and Mrs. Hidaka enter the locked house.  The door to Mr. Hidaka's office is also locked.  Once they unlock the door and enter, they find Mr. Hidaka dead on the floor, having been strangled with the telephone cord.

Detective Kaga is assigned to the case.  He discovers who the killer is and receives a written confession.  But there doesn't appear to be a motive.  In order to prosecute a case, a motive is needed.  Just when you think you know what happened, the story changes.  This keeps you turning pages!  Detective Kaga works alone and eventually solves the case after many twists and turns.  

As far as content, there is a little language.  Language content can cause me to stop reading a book, that is not the case here.  There is a rape incident mentioned, however it is not graphic.

This was first Japanese author I have read and it was a positive experience.  This is definitely not an atmospheric novel, there is some description of the surroundings, but very little unless it is directly related to the mystery.  It is a unique mystery, well told.  If you enjoy mysteries, you will enjoy this book. 

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