Last year I read Malice, the first book from this series translated into English, and it was so twisty and intriguing, I knew I had to read everything else translated into English by this author. And this second book bodes well. Though I didn’t find it as impactful as Malice, this book makes it clear that Higashino likes to play around with format and do new things with story structure in his books (and tone! this book is much less fucked up than Malice was). Which bodes really well for the rest of his books! Mystery is one of my favorite genres, but long-time (and popular) authors in the genre do have a tendency to repeat themselves or develop a formula. I hope that Higashino’s stuff continues to defy that.
Anyway, this was a clever little puzzle mystery. A woman is murdered in a certain section of Tokyo that abuts another section of Tokyo that is known for being old-fashioned, and has a lot of quaint little shops that sell more traditional items. Instead of following the detective, each of the nine chapters in the book follow side characters in the area, all of whom are being questioned by the police in relation to the murder. Detective Kaga, new to the area (and with a reputation for unorthodox investigation), is one of the detectives. The POV sticks close to the people being interviewed, so we are as much in the dark about what is going on as they are. Gradually over the course of the book, the picture becomes clear to us the reader.
That would be clever enough, but each chapter also has little mini-mysteries (sort of) that Kaga settles for the side characters, so you get a little mini-arc for each chapter as the main arc builds.
The next book in this series was translated and published in December 2022, so I’m sure I’ll be getting to that some time this year. And then I have the books in his other series, Detective Galileo (starting with The Devotion of Suspect X), as well as a standalone or two. But this author has published so many books! English language publishers need to take advantage of this gold mine and translate more of his books.