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The Devotion Of Suspect X

March 21st, 2013

I’m getting back to this space after a long time, but I thought it would be nice to use it as a record of all the books that I am reading, and to share some thoughts about them. Given that most of my writing on issues relevant to women in India today has moved over to Women’s Web, I felt it would be nice to have this one continue as a sort of lit-blog.

So, one of the books that I’ve read recently is the cult Japanese novel, The Devotion Of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. I first heard of it thanks to Jai Arjun’s blog a couple of years ago and had planned to read it immediately (given my general craziness about things Japanese), but somehow never got around to it. Until now.

First off, although this book is all about a murder, it isn’t a murder mystery. We know how the murder was committed, who did it, when and where. And yet, there is plenty mysterious about the novel.

How a genius, loner, mathematics teacher, Tetsuyo Ishigami takes charge of the murder and helps his beautiful neighbour Yasuko Hanaoka (whom he is secretly in love with) cover it up, is the heart of the story. Pitted against Ishigami is an old college friend and now Physics professor Yukawa, aiding the police department as they hunt for the killer.

While the facts of the story are ostensibly laid bare to the reader, what is fascinating about The Devotion Of Suspect X is that the plot hatched up by Ishigami has many deeper layers to it, and just when you think you know which way the story is heading, the author throws you a googly and keeps you guessing.

My one grouse with the story is that Yasuko who is an important character in the story is sketched quite broadly and its not clear how she is so little invested in a plot that concerns her so closely, happy to let Ishigami set the stage and handle everything.

Apart from that, the novel is unputdownable, and the cat and mouse game Ishigami plays until the end is brilliantly written, making The Devotion Of Suspect X a must read.

Apparently, the book is part of a series where Professor Yukawa plays Detective. Time to look for these!

apu The Literary life

  1. March 23rd, 2013 at 10:16 | #1

    After reading your post, i am curious to read the book..mystery novels are always fun..i hope i get the time to read it!

    I pre-ordered the Oath of the Vayuputras but wanted to read the first 2 books again to have better continuity and so havent started the new one yet!

  2. Apu
    March 24th, 2013 at 19:13 | #2

    Thanks for commenting, Sri, I didn’t actually expect anyone here :)
    Do read - although like I said, the mystery isn’t in the murder itself…

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