This is a change of pace from other mystery novels that you will read. In some ways, the plot is like a Columbo TV show. We know who the murderer is and the detective is trying to track down who the killer was.
In this case though, the man who was killed was Togashi. Yasuko Hanaoka thought she was rid of Togashi, her abusive husband, until he shows up at her home asking for money. What follows is a violent confrontation between the two followed by Yasuko’s daughter, Misato. Later, their next door neighbor, Ishigami, helps the family dispose of the body.
Of course, in the Columbo shows, there was always a distinciton of the bad guy being the killer but here, you feel sympathy for Yasuko and Misato since they were trying to was trying to get away from Togashi. Whether you’re rooting for them to get away with the murder is the key to the story.
The tension gets better as you wonder if a relationship will develop between Yasuko and Ishigami. At times, Ishigami seems frustrated, feeling that he deserves to spend time with Yasuko, considering all that he has done for her. This helped in making the story more unpredictable.
The detective is Kusanagi and he brings in a physist named Manabu Yukawa to help him out on this case. In the past, he’s helped him on other cases as well. On the surface, they don’t seem to know the answers but Kusanagi is suspicious so he is determined to find out who killed Togashi.
One of the main reasons I liked this story was because it was character driven. It’s not about finding the murder but it is about the feelings the characters have after the murder is committed. The story moves on this and I thought that was great since it’s a different perspective on the subject of the murder mystery.
If there were complaints about the book, much of it seemed to be based on the translation and how it made the writing stilted. I never saw any examples when the complaints were made but as far as I could tell, there was nothing wrong with the writing in this book.
For me, it was a nice change of pace to read a book like this. The tension of the story was whether or not Kusangi would determine who the murderer was and the reacitons by the other characters in the story.
I’m happy to give this story five stars.