Malice (Kyoichiro Kaga 1) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2015/2/5
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Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he's planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, in a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems. Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka's best friend. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same high school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Osamu Nonoguchi left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka. But Kaga thinks something is a little bit off with Nonoguchi's statement and investigates further, ultimately executing a search warrant on Nonoguchi's apartment. There he finds evidence that shows that the two writers' relationship was very different than the two claimed. Nonoguchi confesses to the murder, but that's only the beginning of the story. In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the writer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. Which one of the two writers was ultimately guilty of malice?
The story has more twists & turns than the Tokyo metro and proves that Higashino is a master of the form. * Independent on Sunday on MALICE * 'A thriller of subtle sorts...written with an extreme sense of ease, flow and sensitivity.' * Asian Age * A psychological thriller of the highest order...Each time Higashino makes a revelation, he quickly pulls the carpet from under one's feet, fueling the reader to finish the book as quickly as possible. * Singapore Straits Times on Malice * A detective story about writers is often particularly satisfying, and this one is no exception...The plot is satisfyingly twisty and gathers pace as the revelations come thicker, faster, and more and more unexpected. * Sydney Morning Herald on Malice * The creator of Detective Galileo returns with another fiendishly clever Chinese - make that Japanese - box of a whydunit....Each time you're convinced Higashino's wrung every possible twist out of his golden-age setup, he comes up with a new one. If you still miss the days of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, you can't do better than this fleet, inventive retro puzzler. * Kirkus Reviews on Malice * Intricate... At the outset, [Higashino's] approach seems unsettling, but the Edgar nominee knows his business; Malice soon becomes awfully hard to put down. * Booklist * Smart and original...a true page turner...Higashino continues to elevate the modern mystery as an intense and inventive literary form. * Library Journal **Starred Review** on Malice * Keigo Higashino combines Dostoyevskian psychological realism with classic detective-story puzzles reminiscent of Agatha Christie and E.C. Bentley. * Wall Street Journal on Malice * An exceptional study of the psychology of murder as well as a skilfully plotted narrative. * Independent on Malice * Keigo Higashino again proves his mastery of the diabolical puzzle mystery with Malice, a story with more turns, twists, switchbacks and sudden stops than a Tokyo highway during Golden Week. * New York Times * As fiendishly clever as The Devotion of Suspect X...Higashino offers one twist after another, all of which touch on the theme suggested by the book's title. Readers will marvel at the artful way the plot builds to the solution of Hidaka's murder. * Publishers Weekly on Malice *商品の説明をすべて表示する
Although the second confession of Nonoguchi and the interviews with former classmates get dull, this “novel” was “novel” (oyaji gag) in that the killer is arrested early on and that it becomes a question of why the killer killed the victim. After all, the victim did not do anything wrong.
Now don't get me wrong, Mr. Higashino is on his A game here as usual. As usual, you find out pretty quickly who-dunnit, the mystery lies in finding out the actual truth of what happened. And as with his other books, he makes that quest to have more twists and turns than a corkscrew. And he does it beautifully! You know damn well that you are given an unreliable narrator, and yet, like the detective, you are constantly tricked into trusting him and what he said. Mr. Higashino plays his readers like a finely tuned instrument.
So why the disappointment? For lack of a better (or more reveling) explanation, the end felt like a bit of a cop-out. There is, as Gandalf noted, such a thing as malice, but while mysteries do not have to end nice and neat (and indeed real life is never thus), this one feels at the end that the author himself could not assign a true motive and thus we were left with an explanation that took us to new twists and turns, but when we FINALLY got to the heart of the maze, the Minotaur turned out to be missing. I enjoyed reading it, but I didn't enjoy finishing it.
The book begins in a fairly straightforward, predictable way. Osamu, a writer, narrates Chapter One. He travels to visit a lifelong friend and fellow author, Kunihiko. Kunihiko and his new wife, Rie, as they are about to leave Japan for Vancouver, BC.
As their house is boxed up and ready for the movers, Rie has gone ahead to the hotel where she and her husband will spend the night as Kunihiko has a few last minute changes to make to a manuscript. Osamu has an appointment with his editor and he, too, leaves.
Shortly after Osamu and Rie leave, Kunihiko is murdered. While Osamu is in his apartment with his editor, he receives a phone call. Annoyed, he tells his editor that Kunihiko wants to see him on some urgent matter, but he can wait, as he, Osamu is hungry and suggests that he and the editor have dinner first - then he will visit Kunihiko again. After his dinner, Osamu arrives back at Kunihiko's house and all the lights are off and the front door is locked. Concerned, he calls Rie at her hotel. Rie rushes back to the house, opens the front door with her key and they find Kunihiko dead in his study.
There is no doubt that Kunihiko is murdered. Both Rie and Osamu have well documented alibis. Osamu's account of his last visit with his friend casts a cloud over Kunihiko's character and it appears that many people may have had sufficient motive to murder him.
There is no way to describe what follows without revealing more than the reader wants to know - however, this is one of those books that whatever you think you might know about what is transpiring --- you don't. This book is clever and thought provoking without becoming so bogged down in details that the thread is lost. Interesting, compelling, great writing, great plotting. Stellar.
In this book, we know who committed the murder and how -- we just need to figure out why. Higashino constructs it beautifully, because it kept me guessing until the very end -- even when I figured out the broad strokes, he filled in the details better than I ever could have expected.
I really don't want to say anything else for fear of spoiling: just put down what you're doing and read it now. One of my favourite books of the year for sure!
Started: March 28, 2016
Finished: April 1, 2016