Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book review - Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Salvation of a Saint

Author: Keigo Higashino (English Translation by Alexander O. Smith with Elye  J. Alexander)
ISBN: 9780349139340
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of Pages: 384
Genre: Fiction / Murder-Mystery
Language: English
Price: Rs. 350 (I received my copy from

About the Book: 

When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion. All clues point to Ayane being the logical suspect, but how could she have committed the crime when she was hundreds of miles away? As Tokyo police detective Kusanagi tries to unpick a seemingly unrelated sequence of events he finds himself falling for Ayane. When his judgement becomes dangerously clouded his assistant must call on an old friend for help; it will take a genius to unravel the most spectacular web of deceit they have ever faced...

Salvation of a Saint is a magnificently complex and page-turning thriller starring international crime fiction's most enigmatic sleuth. This is essential reading for all fans of exceptional crime fiction.

Swarnali Speaks :

After having read, loved and reviewed the previous Yukawa and Kusanagi book by Higashino, Devotion of Suspect X, I was dying to read this one. When put it up for the review program, I just jumped and applied. And I can happily say that everybody who liked the previous one will like this one as much. The book manages to capture your interest and hold on to it till the very last word as you cannot help but keep flipping pages without a break. The book is so complex (and yet so simple) that not in a million years can the readers conclude what could have possibly been the manner of death even though the author gives sufficient clues about the possible motive. Therein, lies the genius of Higashino.

The book starts with the suspicious death by poisoning of Yoshitaka Mashiba in his own house in the absence of anybody. What starts with the assumption of a suicide turns out to be a very carefully planned cold blooded murder committed by somebody with an immense patience and eye for detail. Like the previous book, Higashino almost declares the crime and the murderer. The only difference with the last would be the fact that here, the murderer is not so explicitly pointed at. A few lines in the opening chapter ("That's why you have to die, too") and the blurb in the back cover can give one a hint about the same but the reader is kept guessing as to how the crime could be possibly done by the character who is the prime suspect.

The book is very similar to the last one in the sense that this too is a whodunit / howdunit where unraveling the mystery behind the murderer or manner of the crime is given more importance than the crime in itself. Even though it does manages to thrill and keep the readers on the edge with the twists surprise, the structure resembles a whodunit (derivative from who dunn it) more than a traditional thriller. I loved the fact that this book has a deeper character analysis in terms of the pasts of both Kusanagi and Yukawa. More attention has been paid to their personal and working relationship and a romantic angle to Detective Kusanagi's character has also been dealt with. As in the previous book, the reader cannot help but sympathize with the murderer even after knowing the horrific deed they committed.

The only few problems with the book would be the Japanese names which I found very hard to remember (like the last time). Even though the book has a great plot and fluid progression, the pace is somewhat slow in the beginning (first 100 pages approximately) where the author builds up the ideas. But, however, the story moves at breakneck speed towards the end as we are told how exactly the crime took place. The readers are awed as the perfect murder has been committed with the murderer having done nothing  literally. The theoretically possible yet practically impossible (almost) to achieve feat by the murderer is simply mind-blowing. Recommended to all mystery and crime fiction lovers.

Rating : 4.5 / 5 (The 0.5 marks less for the slow pace in the beginning)

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  1. Yeah ... the way the murder was pulled off was awesome ... I am eager to read his first book now !!!

  2. @Green_trust'll love Devotion of Suspect X even more if you liked this :)

  3. Great review, Swarnali!!! I honestly wonder where the author gets his ideas from - so unconventional, but you are left thinking, now why didn't I think of that?

  4. I have been hearing a lot about this book...I guess I just have to grab it and find out for myself...

  5. I love it when books (and movies) take the time to really develop their characters. Sometimes you'll even find yourself rooting for the "bad guy" when they've done it right!

    Great book review Swarnali!

  6. Nice review. I am currently reading "The inheritance of loss."


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