Description from the dust jacket of the edition I read:
Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X was widely proclaimed one of the best books of the year and a finalist for the world’s top award in crime fiction. The first major English-language publication from the most popular writer in Japan, it was acclaimed by critics as “stunning,” “brilliant,” and “ingenious.” Now physics professor Manabu Yukawa –Detective Galileo – returns in a new case of impossible murder, where instincts clash with facts, and theory with reality.
When a man who was about to leave his marriage is poisoned to death, his wife becomes the logical suspect, except for one simple fact: She was hundreds of miles away when he was murdered. Tokyo police detective Kusanagi and his assistant, Kaoru Utsumi, cannot agree on a suspect. Was it his wife, his girlfriend, his business associate? Or was this a random crime? When they call upon their secret weapon, Professor Manabu Yukawa, even his brilliant mind is challenged by a crime that is implausible, methodical, and perfect.
The Japanese crime fiction novels I have read are not thrillers, but more like character studies, looking into the how and why of the crime. This one is a locked room mystery, and although the puzzle to be solved in this one is very ingenious, I am not usually into that type of story. Nevertheless, there were many elements of the story I found interesting and entertaining.
The detectives seem to be at odds or in competition. There is a new young detective, Utsumi, bringing in new ideas. The head detective, Kusanagi, is in disagreement with her almost immediately. He is also at odds with his old friend, Yukawa. Because the two detectives have very different ideas about who the murderer is, Utsumi goes to the professor and asks for his help. He is reluctant at first, and Kusanagi is less than thrilled at his interference.
This story explores the how and why of the murder less than who did it. It also delves into relationships and behavior of many of those involved. The importance of children in this culture is emphasized. A lot of the story revolves around the inability of Ayane to have a child, and her husband's reaction to this. The couple's friends have a new baby and are proud and happy.
Although I preferred The Devotion of Suspect X, this book was also very good. It had more aspects of a police procedural, which was a plus for me, and I liked the new young detective it introduced.
See Margot's view at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...
Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2012 (orig. pub. 2008)
Translator: Alexander O. Smith with Elye Alexander
Length: 330 pages
Series: Professor Galileo, #2
Setting: Tokyo, Japan
Source: Borrowed from my husband.