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The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel

The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel

Автором Keigo Higashino

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The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel

Автором Keigo Higashino

4/5 (166 оценки)
390 pages
Feb 1, 2011


Written by Scribd Editors

Author Keigo Higashino is one of the most widely known best-selling novelists in Japan. Higashino has won the Edogawa Rampo Prize for best mystery, the Mystery Writers of Japan, Inc. Prize for best mystery, amongst several other awards in his career.

The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel is the second of Higashino's works translated into English. Originally published in Japan in 2005, The Devotion of Suspect X would gain Higashino the Naoki Sanjugo Prize and be later turned into a film in 2008.

The story follows Yasuko, who has unintentionally killed her ex-husband following a violent struggle in her apartment. Her neighbor, a brilliant mathematician, named Ishigami, offers assistance to help cover up anything he can regarding the crime. While he asks nothing in return, he insists that Yasuko and her daughter must follow his plan precisely for it to work.

The detectives think something is not right with the story, but all the evidence tells a rather convincing story.

Feb 1, 2011

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Born in Osaka and currently living in Tokyo, Keigo Higashino is one of the most widely known and bestselling novelists in Japan. He is the winner of the Edogawa Rampo Prize (for best mystery), the Mystery Writers of Japan, Inc. Prize (for best mystery) among others. His novels are translated widely throughout Asia.

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The Devotion of Suspect X - Keigo Higashino



At 7:35 A.M. Ishigami left his apartment as he did every weekday morning. Just before stepping out onto the street, he glanced at the mostly full bicycle lot, noting the absence of the green bicycle. Though it was already March, the wind was bitingly cold. He walked with his head down, burying his chin in his scarf. A short way to the south, about twenty yards, ran Shin-Ohashi Road. From that intersection the road ran east into the Edogawa district, west toward Nihonbashi. Just before Nihonbashi, it crossed the Sumida River at the Shin-Ohashi Bridge.

The quickest route from Ishigami’s apartment to his workplace was due south. It was only a quarter mile or so to Seicho Garden Park. He worked at the private high school just before the park. He was a teacher. He taught math.

Ishigami walked south to the red light at the intersection, then he turned right, toward Shin-Ohashi Bridge. The wind blew in his face, making his coat flap around him. He thrust his hands deep into his pockets and hunched over, quickening his pace.

A thick layer of clouds covered the sky, their gray reflection making the Sumida River look even murkier than usual. A small boat was making its way upstream. Ishigami noted its progress as he crossed the bridge.

On the other side, he took a set of stairs that led from the foot of the bridge down to the Sumida. Passing beneath the iron struts of the bridge, he began to walk along the river. Pedestrian walkways were built into the molded concrete riverbanks on both sides of the water. Further down, near Kiyosu Bridge, families and couples often strolled along the river, but such people seldom visited the riverbanks this far up. The long row of cardboard shanties covered in blue vinyl sheets kept them away. This was where the homeless lived, in the shadow of an expressway overpass that ran along the west side of the river. Ishigami figured the looming overpass must have provided some shelter from the wind and rain. The fact that not a single shack stood on the other side of the river gave weight to this hypothesis, though it was possible the first squatters had settled there by accident and the others had simply followed them, preferring the safety of their community, such as it was, to solitude across the water.

He made his way down the row of shanties, glancing briefly at them as he walked. Most were barely tall enough for a man to stand up inside, and some of the structures only rose as high as his waist. They were more boxes than shacks. Maybe it was enough to have a place to sleep.

Plastic laundry hangers had been rigged up near the boxes, signs of domestic life. A man was leaning up against the railing that ran between the walkway and the water, brushing his teeth. Ishigami had seen him around. He was past sixty, and his grayish white hair was bound in a long ponytail. He had probably given up on work. If it was physical labor he wanted, he wouldn’t have been hanging around now. Those jobs were filled in the early morning hours. He wouldn’t be going to the unemployment office, either. Even if they did find a job suitable for him, with that long hair of his he’d never make it as far as the interview. The chances of anyone wanting him for a job at his age were close to zero anyway.

Another man stood near his sleeping box, crushing a row of empty cans under his foot. Ishigami had witnessed this scene several times before, and he had secretly named this fellow the Can Man. The Can Man looked to be around fifty. He had good clothes and even a bicycle. Ishigami figured that his can-collecting trips kept him more active and alert than the others. He lived at the edge of the community, deep under the bridge, which must have been a position of privilege. The Can Man was a village elder, then—an old-timer, even in this crowd—or so Ishigami saw him.

A little way on from where the line of cardboard shanties petered out, another man was sitting on a bench. His coat must have once been beige, but now it was scuffed and gray. He was wearing a suit jacket underneath it, though, and beneath that a white work shirt. Ishigami guessed that he had a necktie stashed away in his coat pocket. Ishigami had labeled him the Engineer a few days earlier, after spotting him reading an industrial trade magazine. He kept his hair cropped short, and he shaved. Maybe he hoped he’d be going back to work soon. He would be off to the unemployment office today, but he probably wouldn’t find a job. He would have to lose his pride before that happened. Ishigami had first seen the Engineer about ten days ago. He wasn’t used to life along the river yet, still drawing an imaginary line between himself and the blue vinyl sheets. Yet here he stayed, not knowing how to live on his own without a home.

Ishigami continued walking along the river. Just before Kiyosu Bridge, he came upon an elderly woman taking three dogs for a walk. The dogs were miniature dachshunds, each with a different colored collar, one red, one blue, and one pink. As he approached, the woman seemed to notice him. She smiled and nodded. He nodded in reply.

Good morning, he offered.

Good morning. Cold, isn’t it?

Quite, he replied, grimacing for effect.

The old woman bade him a good day as she passed by, and he gave her a final nod.

Some days before, Ishigami had seen the woman carrying a plastic convenience store bag with something like sandwiches in it—probably her breakfast. He surmised from this that she lived alone. Her home wouldn’t be far from here. She was wearing flip-flops, and she wouldn’t be able to drive a car in those. She had probably lost her husband years before and now lived in a nearby apartment with her three dogs. A big place, if she was keeping three dogs there. No doubt her pets had kept her from moving to a smaller room somewhere. Maybe she had already paid off the mortgage, but there would still be maintenance fees, so she had to scrimp and save. She hadn’t been to the beauty salon once this winter. Her hair showed its natural color, free from dye.

At the foot of Kiyosu Bridge, Ishigami climbed the stairs back up to the road. The school was across the bridge from here, but he turned and walked in the opposite direction.

A sign facing the road read Benten-tei. Beneath it was a small shop that made boxed lunches. Ishigami slid open the aluminum-framed glass door.

Good morning! Come in, come in, came the call. It was a familiar greeting and a familiar voice, but it somehow always managed to put a spring in his step. Yasuko Hanaoka smiled at him from behind the counter. She was wearing a white hat.

Ishigami felt another thrill as he realized that there were no other customers in the shop. They were alone.

I’ll take the special.

One special, coming up, she replied brightly. Ishigami couldn’t see her expression as he was staring into his wallet, unable to look her in the face. Given that they lived next door to each other, Ishigami felt like he should have something to talk about other than his boxed lunch order, but nothing came to mind.

When he finally came up with Cold today, isn’t it, he mumbled the words, and they were lost in the sound of another customer opening the sliding glass door behind him. Yasuko’s attention had turned to the new arrival.

Boxed lunch in hand, Ishigami walked out of the store. This time, he headed straight for Kiyosu Bridge, his detour to Benten-tei finished.

*   *   *

After the morning rush, things slowed down at Benten-tei, at least as far as customers were concerned. In the back, however, there were lunches to be made. Several local companies had the shop deliver meals for all their employees by twelve o’clock. So, when the customers stopped coming, Yasuko would go back into the kitchen to lend a hand.

There were four employees at Benten-tei. Yonazawa was the manager, assisted by his wife Sayoko. Kaneko, a part-timer, was responsible for making deliveries, while Yasuko dealt with all the in-shop customers.

Before her current job, Yasuko had worked in a nightclub in Kinshicho. Yonazawa had been a regular there and Sayoko had been the club’s mama—though Yasuko hadn’t known they were married until just before Sayoko quit.

"She wants to go from being the mama at a bar to the good wife at a lunch shop, Yonazawa had told her. Can you believe it? Some people never fail to surprise me." Rumors had begun to fly at the club, but according to Sayoko, it had been the couple’s long-held dream to run a place of their own. She had only been working at the club to save up for that.

After Benten-tei opened, Yasuko had made a habit of dropping in now and then to see how the two were doing. Business was apparently good—good enough that, a year later, they asked her if she’d be interested in helping out. It had become too much for the two of them to handle on their own.

You can’t go on in that shady business forever, Yasuko, Sayoko had told her. Besides, Misato’s getting bigger. You wouldn’t want her developing a complex because her mom’s a nightclub hostess. Of course, she’d added, it’s none of my business.

Misato was Yasuko’s only daughter. There was no father in her life after Yasuko’s last divorce, five years ago. Yasuko hadn’t needed Sayoko to tell her she couldn’t go on as she was. Besides her daughter’s welfare, there was her own age to consider. It was far from clear how long she could have kept her job even if she wanted it.

It only took her a day to come to a decision, and the club didn’t even try to hold on to her. They had just wished her well, and that was all. Apparently she hadn’t been the only one concerned about her future there.

She had moved into her current apartment in the spring a year ago, which coincided with Misato entering junior high school. Her old place was too far from her new job. And, unlike the club, getting to her new work on time meant getting up by six and being on her bicycle by six thirty. Her green bicycle.

That high school teacher come again today? Sayoko asked her during a break.

Doesn’t he come every day? Yasuko replied, catching Sayoko sharing a grin with her husband. What? What’s that for?

Oh nothing, nothing. We were just saying the other day how we thought he might fancy you.

Whaaat? Yasuko leaned back from the table, a cup of tea in her hand.

You were off yesterday, weren’t you? Well, guess what? He didn’t come in yesterday. Don’t you think it’s strange that he should come every day, except for the days when you’re not here?

I think it’s a coincidence.

Well, we think maybe it’s not. Sayoko glanced again at her husband.

Yonazawa nodded, still grinning. It’s been going on for a while now, he said with a nod at his wife.  ‘Every day that Yasuko’s out, he doesn’t come here for his lunch,’ she says. I’d wondered about it myself, to tell the truth, and when he didn’t show yesterday, that kind of confirmed it for me.

But I don’t have any set vacations, other than the days the whole shop is closed. It’s not like I’m out every Monday or something obvious like that.

Which makes it even more suspicious! Sayoko concluded, a twinkle in her eye. He lives next door to you, doesn’t he? He must see you leave for work. That’s how he knows.

Yasuko shook her head. But I’ve never met him on my way out, not even once.

Maybe he’s watching you from someplace. A window, maybe?

I don’t think he can see my door from his window.

In any case, if he is interested, he’ll say something sooner or later, Yonazawa said. As far as we’re concerned, we have a regular customer thanks to you, so it’s good news for us. Looks like your training in Kinshicho paid off.

Yasuko gave a wry smile and drank down the rest of her tea, thinking about the high school teacher.

His name was Ishigami. She had gone to his apartment the night she moved in to introduce herself. That’s when she’d learned he was a teacher. He was a heavyset man, with a big, round face that made his small eyes look thin as threads. His hair was thinning and cut short, making him look nearly fifty, though he might easily have been much younger. He wasn’t particularly fashion conscious, always wearing the same sort of clothes. This winter, when he came in to buy his lunch, he was wearing the same coat over a brown sweater. Still, he did do his laundry, as was evidenced by the occasional presence of a drying rack on the small balcony of his apartment. He was single and, Yasuko guessed, not a divorcé or widower.

She thought back, trying to remember something that might have clued her in to his interest, but came up with nothing. He was like the thin crack in her apartment wall. She knew it was there, but she had never paid it that much attention. It just wasn’t worth paying attention to.

They exchanged greetings whenever they met and had even discussed the management at their apartment building once. Yet Yasuko found she knew very little about the man himself. She had only recently learned that he taught math, when she happened to notice outside his apartment door a bundle of old math textbooks, wrapped in string and awaiting disposal.

Yasuko hoped he wouldn’t ask her out on a date. Then she smiled to herself, trying and failing to imagine the dour-looking man’s face as he asked the question.

As on every other day, the midday rush at Benten-tei began right before lunchtime, peaking just after noon. Things didn’t really quiet down again until after one o’clock.

Yasuko was sorting the bills in the register when the sliding glass door opened and someone walked in. Hello, she chimed automatically, looking up. Then she froze. Her eyes opened wide and her voice caught in her throat.

You look well, said the man who was standing there. He was smiling, but his eyes were darkly clouded.

You … how did you find me here?

Is it so surprising? I can find out where my ex-wife works if I have a mind to. The man looked around the shop, both hands thrust into the pockets of his dark navy windbreaker, like a prospective customer trying to figure out what he should buy.

But why? Why now? Yasuko asked, her voice sharp but low. She glowered at him, inwardly praying that the Yonazawas in the back wouldn’t hear them talking.

Don’t look so frightening. How long has it been since I saw you last? And you can’t even manage a polite smile? He grinned.

Yasuko shivered. If you’re here to chitchat, you can save yourself the trouble and turn around right now.

Actually, I came for a reason. I have a favor to ask. Think you can get out for a bit?

Don’t be an idiot. Can’t you see I’m working? Yasuko said, then immediately regretted it. That made it sound like I would have talked with him if I wasn’t at work.

The man licked his lips. What time do you get off?

It doesn’t matter. I don’t want to talk to you. Please, just leave and don’t come back.

Ouch. Cold.

What did you expect?

Yasuko glanced outside, hoping that a customer would walk in, but the street was empty.

Well, if this is how you’re going to act, guess I’ll try someone else, the man said, scratching his head.

Warning bells went off in Yasuko’s head. What do you mean by that?

I mean if my wife won’t listen to me, maybe her daughter will. Her school’s near here, right?

Don’t you dare.

"Okay, then maybe you can help. Either way’s fine by me."

Yasuko sighed. She just wanted him to leave. I’m on till six.

Early morning to six o’clock? That’s some long hours they got you working.

It’s none of your concern.

Okay, I’ll come back at six, then.

No, not here. Take a right outside, and walk down the street until you come to a large intersection. There’s a family restaurant on the near corner. Be there at six thirty.

Great. And, try to make sure you’re there. Because if you don’t show up—

I’ll be there. Just leave. Now.

Fine, fine. Kick me out on the street. The man took another look around the shop before walking out, closing the sliding door behind him a little too hard.

Yasuko put her hand to her forehead. A headache was coming on, and she felt nauseated. A weight of hopelessness began to spread inside her chest.

It was eight years since she married Shinji Togashi. Now the whole sordid story replayed in her mind …

When she met him, Yasuko was working as a hostess in a club in Akasaka. Togashi was a regular.

He was a foreign-car salesman. He lived large, and he had included her in his high-flying lifestyle. He gave her expensive gifts, took her to pricey restaurants. When he proposed, she felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. She was tired of working long hours to support her daughter after a failed first marriage.

In the beginning, they were happy. Togashi had a steady income, so Yasuko could wash her hands of the nightclub scene. He was great with Misato, too, and for her part, Misato seemed to try hard to think of him as Daddy.

When things fell apart, it happened suddenly. Togashi was fired from his job when his employers discovered that he had been embezzling company funds for years. The only reason they didn’t press charges was that they wanted to cover the whole thing up, afraid their own judgment and oversight would be called into question. So there it was: all the money he had been spending in Akasaka had been dirty.

After that, Togashi changed. Or maybe it was just that the real person he had always been finally came to the surface. The days he didn’t go out gambling he spent lying about at home. When Yasuko complained, he became violent. He started drinking more, too, until it seemed as though he was always bleary-eyed drunk and looking for a fight.

Yasuko had no choice but to go back to work. But all the money she made, Togashi took from her by force. When she tried hiding it, he started turning up at the club on payday and taking the money before she could stash it away.

Misato learned to be terrified of her stepfather. She didn’t like being left alone with him at home. At times she even came to the club where Yasuko worked just to avoid him.

Yasuko asked Togashi for a divorce, but he wouldn’t hear of it. When she pressed harder, he started hitting her. Finally after months of anguish she turned to a lawyer recommended by one of her customers. The lawyer was able to get a reluctant Togashi to sign the divorce papers. Evidently, her husband realized that he had no chance of winning in court and that unless he agreed to go quietly, he might even end up having to pay alimony.

Yet divorce alone did not solve the problem. In the months that followed, Togashi had made a habit of dropping in on Yasuko and her daughter. His affairs were all settled, he told her; he was devoting himself to his work. Wouldn’t she consider mending things between them? When Yasuko tried to avoid him, he started approaching Misato, sometimes even waiting outside her school.

When he came to Yasuko literally on his knees, she couldn’t help but feel pity, even though she knew the whole thing was a performance. Perhaps a little bit of the affection she had once felt for him remained. She gave him a little money.

It was a mistake. Once Togashi got a taste, he started coming more frequently—always with the same groveling demeanor, yet growing increasingly shameless in his requests.

Eventually Yasuko switched clubs and moved to a new apartment. Even though she hated to do it, she also changed Misato’s school. And Togashi stopped appearing. Then a year ago she moved again and took the job at Benten-tei. She had wholly believed she had rid herself of that walking catastrophe for good.

She couldn’t let the Yonazawas hear about her ex-husband and his reappearance. She didn’t want to worry them. Misato couldn’t know about it either. She had to make sure, on her own, that he never came back to see her again. Yasuko glanced at the clock on the wall and gritted her teeth.

Just before six thirty, she left the shop and made her way to the restaurant. She found Togashi sitting near the window, smoking. There was a coffee cup on the table in front of him. Yasuko sat down, ordering hot cocoa from the waitress. She usually went for the soft drinks because of the free refills, but today she didn’t intend to stay that long.

Why? she asked with a glare.

Togashi’s mouth softened. You’re sure in a hurry.

I’ve got a lot to do, so if you really have a good reason for coming here, out with it.

Yasuko— Togashi reached out for her hand where it lay on the table. She drew it back quickly. His lip curled. You’re in a bad mood.

Why shouldn’t I be? You better have a good reason for stalking me like this.

So antagonistic! I know I might not look it, but I’m serious about this.

Serious about what?

The waitress brought her cocoa. Yasuko picked it up and took a scalding sip. She wanted to drink it as fast as she could and get out of there.

You’re living by yourself, right? Togashi asked, staring at her from under lowered brows.

So? What business is it of yours?

"Hard for a woman living by herself to raise a kid. She’s just going to cost more and more, you know. What do they pay you at that lunch shop, anyway? You can’t guarantee her future on that. Look, I want you to reconsider. Reconsider us. I’ve changed. I’m not like I was before."

What’s changed? You working?

I will. I’ve already found a job.

But you’re not working yet, are you.

I said I got a job. I’m supposed to start next month. It’s a new company, but once things get rolling, hey, you and your daughter could live the easy life.

"Thanks, but no thanks. If you’re making all that money, I’m sure you won’t have any problem finding someone else to share it with. Just, please, leave us be."

Yasuko, I need you.

Togashi reached out again, trying to touch her hand where she held the cup. Don’t touch me! She recoiled from his grasp; a little bit of the cocoa spilled as she moved, dripping on Togashi’s fingers. Ow! He jerked back his hand. When next he looked at her there was malice in his eyes.

Yasuko glared back. You can’t just come here and give me the same old lines, not after what’s happened. How do you expect me to believe you? Like I said before, I haven’t the slightest desire ever to be with you again, not the slightest. So just give it up. Okay?

Yasuko stood. Togashi watched her in silence. Ignoring his gaze, she put the money for her cocoa down on the table and headed for the door.

As soon as she was outside the restaurant, she retrieved her bicycle from its parking spot and began to pedal away. She pictured Togashi running after her, sniveling, and it made her pedal faster. She went straight down Kiyosubashi Road, turning left after Kiyosu Bridge.

She had said everything there was to say, but she was sure she hadn’t seen the last of him. He would show up at the shop again before long. He would stalk her, become a nuisance, maybe even make a scene. He might even show up at Misato’s school. He would wait for Yasuko to give in, figuring that when she did, she would give him money.

Back at her apartment, Yasuko began making dinner. Dinner wasn’t much more than warmed-up leftovers she had brought back from the shop, but even so, tonight cooking seemed like a difficult chore; every few moments her hands fell still as some horrible thought occurred to her, some scene played out in her mind.

Misato would be home soon. She was in the badminton club at school and usually spent time after practice talking with the other girls. She usually made it back around seven o’clock.

The doorbell rang. Yasuko frowned and went to the door. It wouldn’t be Misato. She had her own key.

Yes? Yasuko called without opening the door. Who is it?

There was a brief pause, and then, It’s me.

Yasuko didn’t answer. Her vision dimmed. A terrible feeling crept up inside her. Togashi had already found their apartment. He had probably followed her from Benten-tei one night.

Togashi began knocking on the door. Oi!

She shook her head and undid the lock, leaving the door chain fastened.

The door opened about four inches, revealing Togashi’s face right on the other side. He grinned. His teeth were yellow.

Why are you here? Go away.

I wasn’t finished talking. Boy, short-tempered as always, aren’t you?

I told you, we’re done. Finished. Never again.

You can at least listen to what I have to say. Just let me in.

I won’t. Go away.

Hey, if you won’t let me in I’ll just wait here. Misato should be getting home anytime now. If I can’t talk to you, I’ll just have to talk to her.

She’s got nothing to do with this.

So let me in.

I’ll call the police.

"Go ahead. What’s wrong with a man coming to visit his ex-wife? The police will take my side. You could at least let him in, ma’am, they’d say."

Yasuko bit her lip. She hated to admit it, but he was probably right. She had called the police before, and they had never done the slightest thing to help her. That, and she didn’t want to make a scene. Most tenants had a guarantor backing up their rent, but she had moved in here without one. One troubling rumor and she could be kicked out onto the street.

Okay. But you have to leave right away.

Sure, of course, Togashi said, a light of victory in his eyes.

Yasuko undid the chain and opened the door. Togashi stepped in, taking off his shoes as he glanced around the room. It was a small apartment, just a kitchen and two other rooms. The room closest to the door was done in the Japanese style and was wide enough for six tatami mats on the floor, with a doorway on the right side leading into the kitchen. There was an even smaller Japanese-style room toward the back, and beyond that, a sliding door opened onto a small

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  • (4/5)
    The Devotion of Suspect X is only the second of Keigo Higashino's works to be translated into English. (Vertical published his novel Himitsu, "Secret," under the title Naoko in 2004.) This is really too bad since he is both a popular and award-winning author in Japan. The Devotion of Suspect X is arguably his most notable book--originally published in Japan in 2005, it won him the Naoki Sanjugo Prize and was made into a film in 2008. The novel is scheduled for release in English in February 2011 by the Minotaur imprint of St. Martin's Press. I was happy to receive an advance copy of The Devotion of Suspect X through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. I was also very excited to learn that Alexander O. Smith--one of my favorite translators--worked on the novel's translation with Elye J. Alexander. I had never read any of Higashino's work before, but was really looking forward to The Devotion of Suspect X.After Yasuko unintentionally kills her ex-husband during a violent struggle in her apartment, she is surprised when her next door neighbor, the brilliant mathematician Ishigami, offers to do all that he can to help cover up the crime. He asks for nothing in return but Yasuko and her daughter must follow his plan exactly for it to work. Incredibly, Ishigami seems to have taken into consideration all possible outcomes and the investigation proceeds just as he predicts. The detectives suspect that something isn't quite right with the situation, but the evidence tells a convincing story even if they are uneasy about it. But then Ishigami is unexpectedly reunited with Yukawa, a former university classmate, rival, and friend. Yukawa, who often acts as a consultant to the police, may be the only person in a position to see through Ishigami's schemes. However, Ishigami is prepared even for this unforeseen scenario.Even though the characters are extremely important in The Devotion of Suspect X, the reader never really gets to connect with or know them that well, or see what's going on inside their minds. It is this not knowing that drives the story. Ishigami is terrifying in his brilliance specifically because the depth of his devotion and the lengths he is willing to go to protect Yasuko are unknown. There is no question he has helped her and her daughter and his incredible intelligence has allowed him to do this extraordinarily well. Throughout the novel, the enormity of exactly what he has done and the ultimate truth behind the situation is slowly revealed. Although I predicted some of the plot developments, I'll admit that I didn't see some of the final twists coming. Ishigami's genius is stunning and in many ways the ending is heartbreaking.Technically, The Devotion of Suspect X is the third volume in Higashino's Galileo series, which features Manabu Yukawa. However, the book stands alone perfectly well. I wasn't even aware that it was a part of a series when I started reading it and only discovered that fact later on. I do hope that the previous two books, Tantei Galileo and Yochimu are translated because I would really like to read them now. The thing that I was most impressed by in The Devotion of Suspect X was how Higashino effectively and very subtly built tension as the novel progressed. I didn't even realize how worked up I had become until the end of the book when Higashino finally releases his grip. Occasionally, he would linger on a particular mathematical theory or concept for too long and I wouldn't necessarily call The Devotion of Suspect X a page-turner. However, I found it to be thoroughly engrossing and I really hope to read more of Higashino's work in English.Experiments in Manga
  • (4/5)
    This is the first Japenese book I have read albeit in English. The main 2 characters in this story are Yasuko Hanaoka a single Mother to her daughter Misato.The other character is their weird next door neighbour school teacher Ishigami. Yasuko's ex husband Togashi calls for her, she doesn't want to see him. Misato attacks and kills him. Ishigami takes charge of the situation and tells them to get a good alibi. A body is found down by the river. The Police with the help of Ishigami's old colleague from college Yukawa unravel the case. Ishigami had killed a tramp and pretended the body was Togashi's. Ishigami was devoted to Yasuko and agreed to take the blame for the murder.He goes to jail happy to have protected Yasuko honour.She then also confesses to the murder. Easy to read good book.
  • (4/5)
    Wonderfully intricate murder mystery with a twist that, for me, was a surprise.
  • (4/5)
    I stumbled onto this one by accident. I'd seen a foreign film that I liked and the Wikipedia page for it said it was loosely based on this novel, so I bought it to give it a try, and in the end I can only see a few similarities between the two but not enough to really claim the book and the movie were much alike. I'm getting off topic. Regardless of all that, I quite enjoyed the book.I like reading stories that take place in wildly different cultures, because it not only educates me about those cultures, but often I'm surprised by the way the stories unfold. American/English authors (whether they acknowledge this or not) often slip into familiar patterns that we, the readers, begin to anticipate before we realize what we're doing.For instance, take the "Rule of Three." This is an actual thing. Here's the Wikipedia entry for it:"The rule of three or power of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also thereby more likely to remember the information. This is because having three entities combines both brevity and rhythm with having the smallest amount of information to create a pattern. It makes the author or speaker appear knowledgeable while being both simple and catchy."I wonder if this is an Western concept, whereas other cultures (Eastern?) may not have developed the same patterns in their story-telling. They have their own patterns, which are unfamiliar to a Western reader. So lots of times in a book written by someone Asian/Eastern, where we (Westerners) would expect to see a pattern of three, the Asian writer throws us for a loop and does something completely different. That's the sort of thing I see all over the place when I read books from Asia, and it intrigues me. Not the lack of the "Rule of Three," per se, but just a sense of randomness that I can't foresee. And I like it. I like that I start to anticipate one thing, and suddenly the narrative goes in a different direction. Keeps me on my toes.Anyway, not to digress further and again, I had fun with that sort of thing in this book, the sense of curiosity I felt in reading something that had an unfamiliar structure and kept me guessing. And on top of that, it's just a really good detective story. You see the story unfold from the point of view of the detective as well as the "bad guy" at the same time, so it's not a whodunit or even a howdunit, but a "which of these two brilliant people will out smart the other" type of story. Also, you're sympathetic to both (there really isn't a "bad guy" in this story), so while I was reading it, I honestly didn't know who to root for. (See, there's another example of a standard Western trope, good guy vs. bad guy, that gets turned on it's head.)And even though you know the whole story from the start, the writer still manages to add a few "gotchas" at the end that maybe you weren't expecting.Fun read.
  • (5/5)
    Yasuko divorced her abusive ex-husband, but that hasn't stopped him from finding out where she's living, and harassing her and her teenaged daughter. One night he ends up dead on Yusuko's apartment floor. Their neighbour knows what they've done and quickly devises a plan to cover up what really happened.

    The characters are well developed and believable, and the story is full of twists and turns that will shock you. This book was amazing.

    I received a free copy through Goodreads First Reads.
  • (4/5)

    At the beginning of this mystery the reader meets mild-mannered math teacher Ishigami as he walks to work on a route which takes him past the lunch shop, "Benten-tei" where he orders lunch every day from his attractive neighbor, Yasuko Hanaoka. When her abusive ex-husband comes to Yasuko and her daughter's apartment one evening and ends up dead at their hands, Ishigami constructs a watertight alibi for them. The police are suspicious and determined to find out who killed the man. They enlist the support of their own scientist in the murder investigation, the brilliant and eccentric physicist Yukawa Manabu, who just happens to be an old classmate of Ishigami's. The center of the story starts with the unpicking of the alibi and the beginning of a battle of wills between the two scientists to completely outwit one another.


    I thought this was really interesting but I missed the character interaction that happens in more typical mysteries. The suppressed nature of the men kept me from becoming as involved in the story as I usually like. However, the plot is very cleverly constructed and I enjoyed it very much. I definitely plan to pick up the next book in the series, Salvation of a Saint.


  • (5/5)
    *Received through Goodreads First Reads program from author/publisher for an honest review**Also posted on Amazon.com (under Leanne) Higashino opens up the story by describing Ishigami’s daily routine which succinctly draws a picture of how intelligent he is along with his affection for Yasuko, his next door neighbor and pretty single mother. Yasuko kills her extortionist, violent ex-husband at the beginning of the story and Ishigami helps her to cover up the crime. The plot majorly comprises of how a police detective, Kusanagi, along with help from his physicist colleague, Yukawa, investigates the murder and interprets clues and evidence to solve the case. All the while, Ishigami tries his best to be a step ahead of the police and Yukawa, who happens to be an old college classmate. In the beginning, Yasuko is a sympathetic character but barely so. Lack of detail on the actual development of Ishigami’s loyalty to her does little to convince the reader that she is worthy of such help and Ishigami, himself, is very stoic and logical. The author only shares very little snippets of emotion from Ishigami such that the reader believes the story is superbly developed technically but does not pull the heart strings and make you root for the main characters. This thankfully changes as the plot develops. The reader is prepared for the murder to be solved, but the author expertly weaves into the story a surprise twist that you don’t expect. This happens along with the revealing of Ishigami’s motivation behind helping Yasuko and such measures he takes tugs at the heart of the reader, so much more so, that this depth of character is so unexpected. Higashino’s deliberate development of Ishigami’s character along with the use of Yukawa as a foil, makes for the success of the story and, by the end, you hope for the “bad guys” to get away. Overall, I was quite surprised with how much I loved The Devotion of Suspect X. I typically don’t read many murder/mysteries and found this novel refreshing and compelling. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of mysteries and anyone who enjoys stories with great development of character. Now I understand why Higashino is Japan’s most popular bestselling author and look forward to reading more of his works in the future as well as seeing the translation into the little/big screens!
  • (4/5)
    Actually I might give this one a 4.5 if I could-- great puzzle-type mystery with the whodunit out there from the beginning and a good interplay between logic and intuition in the final outcome. As always, the fact that I attended a discussion group session (as a guest) enhanced my enjoyment-- you always read a bit more carefully and you always benefit from comments and questions from other readers.
  • (4/5)
    Very different. This is the only book I have read where I was rooting for the killer !! I will definitely read/listen to the 2nd one.
  • (1/5)
    Half way though - BORING. Listening to the audio book version. Usually with fiction that is placed in countries where I am not familiar with the pronunciations (Mitchner "Poland", all the Scandinavian mysteries being translated these days) the audio versions are great because the narrator gives words/name/phrases life. Well, in this book, other than the names being pronounced - there is absolutely nothing that makes me think this takes place anywhere other than the US. I don't know if this is the problem of the translation or the narrator - but very unsettling. Ever watch the old "Colombo" series? We see the crime happen and then Columbo ferrets out the truth through diligent, intuitive detective work. None of that here.Finished. Consider watching an old Columbo re-run rather than reading this.
  • (4/5)
    The characters and their motivations drive this psychological suspense story set in Japan. I very much enjoyed the interplay between the two scientists, one a shy but brilliant man devoted to the woman who kills her abusive husband, and the other a chess playing physicist who helps the police detective trying to make sense of the murder.It's an interesting and suspensefull cat and mouse game and I was conflicted in who to root for. An intriguing read but the language was clunky at times.
  • (4/5)
    I had never heard of this book when I came across it in Waterstone's and, feeling unwarrantedly flush I decided to take a punt on it, swayed by the publisher's blurb. For once (as I have rather poor form in this field) I think I chose wisely. Please note that my review does contain some minor spoilers (though certainly not the ultimate denouement.).Yasuko Hanoaka is a divorced mother who now works in an upmarket sandwich bar, though earlier she had been a hostess in a couple of lively nightclubs. As the novel opens, her neighbour, Tetsuyi Ishigami, is walking to his work as a maths tutor at a cramming college for academically challenged pupils, and, as he always does, takes a detour to visit Yasuko's shop, principally for the chance to gaze at her. She is aware of him but does not pay him any attention.However, this day will prove to be different because later on another customer whom she recognises call in to the shop. This visitor is less welcome as it turns out to be Yasuko's estranged former husband, Shinji Togashi, whom she had divorced because of his drunken violence. They had not met for some years, and Yasuko soon recognises that Togashi has not changed and that he is likely to be there to scrounge for money. She manages to persuade him to leave the store, but he turns up later at the flat she now shares with her young daughter. Trouble ensues, and escalates, culminating in the sudden death of Togashi. Ishigami, who lives next door, hears the struggle and comes round to investigate, finding Yasuko and her daughter in shock, stunned by what has happened and perplexed as to how to react. Ishigami takes charge and arranges for the disposal of the body.We then move on a couple of weeks by which time the police have found an unidentified corpse and set about trying to unravel the mystery of who the dead man was, and how he came to be there. The investigation is led by Kusanagi, an inspector of the local police, with help from his intelligent civilian friend Yukawa who, as it happens, had been at university with Ishigami. Yukawa, an associate professor of physics at the Imperial University, starts his own investigation which runs in parallel with that pursued by the police, and their paths continually cross.The plot is never less than utterly plausible, and the characterisation is clever, with Yukawa cast almost as a Japanese version of Mycroft Holmes, seldom straying from his comfortable base while managing to unravel the trail of clues that he identifies to the bemusement of the police.All in all, very enjoyable.
  • (3/5)
    This is an unusual police procedural set in Tokyo, Japan. The reader knows who the murderer is from the beginning, and the suspense comes from finding out whether the cover-up will be successful. There's a cat and mouse game being played, but not between the detective and the murderer, but between a physicist working in a university lab who sometimes consults for the lead detective and the next-door neighbor of the murderer who engage in the battle of wits. Ishigami, a high school math teacher, loves his neighbor, Yasuko. Yasuko is a divorced mother who works in a small shop selling bento boxes. He buys his lunch from her every day, but lacks the courage to speak to her. On day, her estranged ex-husband appears and after he follows her home and forces his way into her apartment, there's an altercation and he is killed. Hearing the commotion, Ishigami appears and takes charge. The Devotion of Suspect X was an interesting deviation from the usual police procedural. Coupled with the Japanese setting, this proved to be a fun evening's read.
  • (4/5)
    The book kept me reading till the end. What looks a simple case at the beginning, it gets complex and with a final surprise.The case is simple, at the beginning. The real story seems to be the battle of wits between two geniuses, one that tries to hide a crime, and one who tries to solve it.The characters are not very developed, all the story lays in the plot. The strategies used by the two scientists or genius are compared with the ways scientists do their work. Comparisons are made with the way people make assumptions, wrong assumptions.The final twist is pure genius.
  • (4/5)
    The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino lays before the reader an engrossing puzzle, but one flawed by serious editing problems and weak character development. For the majority of the book the characters seemed more as ghosts floating about an insoluble problem. My problem with the character development might be countered with the argument that the principals of the story, Ishigami, Yasuko, and Kukawa, must remain inscrutable if they are to succeed. This may also be noted as a cultural difference since one can point to Kawabata and Mishima as artists whose style of subtle character development hinged as much on not telling as telling. The same might be said of the Anglo-Japanese writer Ishiguro. Higashino creates a mystery of a mathematical elegance, plays fair with the reader, never does one feelthat the author is holding back until the end. If one heeds the Detective Galileo's deductive and philosophic musings, the solution, the twist should not come as a surprise. Still, the insubstantiality of the characters as flesh and blood people and several serious editing problems, some which lead to contradictions in facts, others were simply copy issues such as omissions of necessary small words kept me from being utterly enthralled.
  • (5/5)
    this has 'first novel' written all over it...bad and sudden transitions, wrong spellings, wrong grammar, awkward character and plot developments...i think these are not necessarily bad for a first novel (is it higashino's first?), just mildly annoying and sets up bad omens for the book.but like all good first novels (i just did a quick google search...this was not higashino's 1st novel), Suspect X has something extremely well going for it that overrides the little annoyances: it is a very cleverly written, intelligent, and original puzzle!i do not feel this positively towards detective and crime thrillers in general. i've been reading mysteries and whodunits since i was very young and its become easy, more often than not (ok, not that easy), to guess the right solution, or the twist, even if just a partial one. Suspect X, however, took me so completely by surprised that i actually swore out loud when i realized what actually happened on the 'fateful night'. extremely satisfying! ^_^'which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem, or solving that problem? and it's not an empty question...i guarantee this puzzle has an answer. interesting, no?' -- detective galileo
  • (5/5)
    I'm not entirely sure how to express how much I loved this book. I'd watched the jdrama, Galileo, before I read the book and had completely forgotten that that series was based on Higashino's Detective Galileo character. I'd also fallen in love with the actor who plays Kusanagi, so it was much to my delight when I realized that this novel was part of the source material for the TV show that I love. This did prove to be a slight problem, as the "bad" guys in the novel are rather sympathetic, but I came into this predisposed to like the detective and the physicist. Overall, the story is engaging and interesting, I was never bored with any of the storylines. I also found the characters to be just as much fun in the book as they are in the show. Near the end of the novel, there's a twist that I didn't see coming which basically left me sitting at my kitchen table, listening and possibly crying a little. It was extremely well done and I immediately ILL'd the next book. I listened to the audiobook version and the reader was fantastic. I really wish some of the Detective Galileo short stories were translated into English, though!
  • (4/5)
    Yasuko kills her abusive ex-husband in defense of her daughter; the only other witness to the murder is the brilliant mathematician who lives across the hall. He decides to help them conceal the murder and creates the perfect alibi for Yasuko, thus beginning a thrilling cat-and-mouse game among the suspects, the police, and a brilliant physicist who knows the math teacher. Summary HPLA murder mystery that reveals "whodunit" in the opening pages means to take the reader on a different journey. Telling the story from different points of view, Higashino manoeuvers his plot like a chess game where the pieces are able to communicate about their role in the game only insofar as their positions on the chess board will allow. Of course, the author has some surprise moves...The beauty of ethics and mathematics is personified respectively by the physics professor, Yukawa and the math genius, Ishigami. Their interplay as they pursue their missions is finely wrought in spare strokes. Science, logic and predictability dominate the novel, partly to lead the reader astray.In Higashino's Japan, the culture remains patriarchal: Yasuko knows the police won't stop her ex-husband from stalking her; after the murder, she does not hope for leniency from the law but submissively accepts the help offered by the male neighbor who is little more than a stranger. The stilted dialogue brought to life the formality of Japanese social exchanges.Not a light or easy read; THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X shows the power of chance encounter and the strange places love is born.8 out of 10 Recommended to readers who prefer their suspense to be intelligent and informed and to fans of off-beat love stories.
  • (4/5)
    This crime novel is a lot like an episode of Columbo. The novel begins with a murder and a known murderer. A woman kills her ex-husband in her apartment. Her neighbor, a mathematics genius, steps in to help her cover up the crime. He matches wits with a police consultant, a physicist who also happens to be an old college classmate. The physicist assists the police in chipping away at the alibi, becoming every bit as annoying as Columbo with “just one more thing”.I don't often read crime novels where the murderer's identity is revealed at the beginning. I enjoy the challenge of a whodunnit and trying to beat the detective to the solution. It's not as much fun trying to guess where the killer will slip up in the cover-up. However, this book had a lot more surprises in store than that, and I was completely surprised by the ending. If all crime novels with a known murderer were written this well, I'd try one of them more often.
  • (4/5)
    Trust a Japanese to throw an unseen twist in a seemingly simple murder story. Surprisingly refreshing!3.5/5
  • (5/5)
    Der vorliegende Roman ist nach "Mord am See" (hier nicht besprochen) der 2. ins Deutsche übertragene des japanischen Erfolgsautors. Am Anfang steht die Tat, begangen von der alleinerziehenden Yasuko aus Tokio, die ihren gewalttätigen Ex-Mann in ihrer Wohnung erdrosselt. Ihr Nachbar, der in Yasuko verliebte, geniale Mathematik-Lehrer Ishigami, hilft ihr beim Beseitigen der Leiche, beim Legen falscher Fährten und gibt ihr genaue Anweisungen, wie sie sich der Polizei gegenüber verhalten soll. Er findet seinen Widerpart in dem Physikprofessor Yukawa, der wiederum den leitenden Kommissar Kusanagi in seinen Ermittlungen unterstützt. Der eine will die Wahrheit vertuschen, der andere aufdecken, wobei der Leser mehr mit den Tätern mitfiebert. Der wohltuend altmodisch geschriebene Krimi erfährt viel Spannung durch den intellektuellen Wettstreit der beiden Naturwissenschaftler und endet mit einem echten Knaller als Auflösung des Falles. Ganz nebenbei vermittelt das Buch auch noch Einblicke in das Leben im heutigen Japan. Deshalb zumindest ab mittleren Beständen gerne und unbedingt empfohlen. Namen: Yasuko Hanaoka, ihre Tochter Misato, ihr neuer Freund Kudo
  • (5/5)
    “Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem, or solving that problem?”Yasuko Hanaoka is a single mother just trying to get ahead. She’s finally working a more respectable job and raising her teenage daughter, Misato, as best she can. Her sleazy ex-husband, Togashi, is making that difficult. As much as she tries to distance herself, he keeps coming around, extorting money in order to go away. This time, however, the altercation becomes physical when Misato hits him. He attacks the girl, and both mother and daughter wind up in a life-or-death struggle that finds Togashi strangled on the floor.Panicked, the two are discussing Yasuko turning herself into the police when a knock comes at the door. It is Ishigami, the smitten teacher who lives next-door. It seems he *will* do anything for Yasuko—including move bodies. And so a plot is hatched. Ishigami is much more than a high school math teacher. At one time, he was a bona fide mathematical genius and it seems he’s still got a talent for logic and strategy. Will it help them all get away with murder?Enter “Detective Galileo,” the nickname of physicist Manabu Yukawa. Yukawa earned his moniker helping out the police on occasional cases. He’s got Holmesian intellect and observational skills, though considerably better people skills than the famed detective. And, back in their college days, he and Ishigami were friends and rivals. While Yukawa is not officially on the case, his personal connection draws him in. But rather than working with Detective Kusanagi, for the first time he seems to be following his own agenda. Thus begins a high-stakes chess game between two brilliant men. Says the physicist:“When an amateur attempts to conceal something, the more complex he makes his camouflage, the deeper the grave he digs for himself. But not so a genius. The genius does something far simpler, yet something no normal person would even dream of, the last thing a normal person would think of doing. And from this simplicity, immense complexity is created.”I’m not generally a huge fan of police procedurals, but this one had a lot going for it. At the very top of the list is the plotting. The cat-and-mouse aspect to the investigation kept tension ratcheted—especially as readers knew exactly how the murder went down from the novel’s opening pages. But each of these men had surprises up their sleeves, and the dénouement was a thing of beauty. Also, this was largely a crime of self-defense (apparently not a big concept in the Japanese legal system, as it was never brought up once as a mitigating factor), and therefore the perpetrators were quite sympathetic. As a reader, at times it was hard to know who to root for—and that’s just interesting. This was definitely not a black and white crime novel.Character development is a little trickier. I always have some trouble getting a feel for Japanese characters simply due to cultural differences. And whatever the culture, Ishigami is not your average Joe. I liked Yukawa quite a lot, but can’t say that I feel he’s a wildly unique creation. At least not yet. Author Keigo Higashino has had a second Detective Galileo mystery published in English, Salvation of a Saint. As I was reading, I thought to myself, This must not be the first novel in the series. But checking Wikipedia, it appears there were only a series of short stories featuring the character prior to this novel. Additionally, there’s a third novel in the series not yet released in America. Based on this introduction, I’d be very open to further investigations.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting police procedural / murder mystery, which I quite enjoyed in the end.Getting into it was a challenge, however, as it seemed to take a long time (185 pages?) with little or no feeling for the characters or their situation. I don't expect this was any particular fault of the author's, the translation, the reader's, or (maybe?) simply cultural differences; but, the fact remains, I very nearly put it down, deliberately (rather than inadvertently), to move on to other things.Let's say I'm interested to watch for other English translations of Higashino's work, which is evidently quite popular in Japan; but I won't likely pay retail for the privilege.
  • (4/5)
    Less a 'whodunnit' than a 'how & why-dunnit' set in Japan. Very well parsed plot, presented through the eyes of a mathematician and a physicist. A suitable twist near the end, and a shiver-down-the-spine psychological denouement. Excellent holiday reading, and a change from usual UK-US fare.
  • (4/5)
    this book was a good read. I really enjoyed it . There is not much more to be said that hasn't already been said. I would definitely tell others to read it. I didn't know that there was an audiobook out there but if you don't like to read but like to listen. Get the audiobook.
  • (4/5)
    Higashino is one of Japan's best selling crime writers. His protagonist is a divorced single Mom. Her ex-husband is out to extort funds from her. He comes to the apartment and threatens the Mother and the teenage daugheter, Misato. Violence follows and the ex-husband ends up dead. If you like police procedurals set in exotic places you will like SUSPECT X. It is a good read. Definitely worth a detour.
  • (5/5)
    This is the only Detective Galileo book that I've seen in English, and is based on the movie Suspect X. However, be warned that while in terms of plot, the movie is true to the book, there is one major change: Utsumi has been replaced.The plot, while unlike a conventional murder mystery, is excellent, as it aptly places it's focus on characterisation. In fact, I sometimes felt as though the murder was just a literary device for characterisation to occur. There isn't an unsympathetic character, except perhaps the murdered man himself, and I felt sympathetic towards all the characters. Of course, this book feels slow at times, but that is only if you read it expecting an exciting murder mystery. It reminds me of a study I saw, where a spoiler can actually enhance the reading of a book. In this case, it's proven true, because by telling you the murderer, you can better appreciate the characterisation and the prose.
  • (4/5)
    This is really an upside down mystery... you know who dunnit from the outset, but are taken on a path of wondering if and how the police will solve the crime. It's a complex path, created by one of the main characters, a math professor who is accustomed to taking advantage of his student's assumptions to create difficult mathematical problems. He does the same in covering up a murder which leads us and the detectives down an intriguing path. Even knowing this was the basis of his strategy, and loving a good logic puzzle as much as anyone, I never saw the ending coming. I listened to the audio book, it's well read and has a nice pace that made me look forward to my next run so I could listen to more.
  • (3/5)
    A short, nice, quick read murder mystery story. A man covers up crime for his beloved in most unusual manner.
  • (3/5)
    When Yasuko's abusive ex-husband shows up uninvited and unwelcome at the apartment she shares with her teen-aged daughter one day, things quickly escalade and he ends up dead. Before she has had time to figure out what to do next, her next door neighbour Ishigami, a middle-aged mathematics teacher whom she hardly knows, offers to help dispose of the body and creates the perfect alibi for her. Though the police can't find any incriminating evidence against her, detective Kusanagi's instincts tell him something isn't quite right with Yasuko's story. He discusses the case with his brilliant physicist friend Dr. Yukawa, who, as luck would have it, was friends with the mathematician in his college days and discovers to pay his old friend a visit.This was a cleverly told mystery with an interesting plot twist toward then end, though I sometimes felt like the investigation was going in circles, and found the pacing a bit slow and plodding. One of the elements of the story I found most interesting was that it was never made completely clear whether Ishigami's obsession lay with the beautiful Yasuko or with his passion for mathematics. Good, but not great.