Friday, April 26, 2013

Book review : Salvation of a Saint

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books ! 

Salvation of  a Saint is the latest novel,  by the Japanese author Keigo Higashino.Keigo Higashino's earlier thriller novel "The devotion of Suspect X " was an astounding success ! As per review by the Times,Keigo Higashino is the Japanese Stieg Larsson. The Salvation of a Saint is the English translation of the  Japanese murder mystery.The translation is by Alexander O.Smith with Elye J Alexander.The translation is very  good . Hence, the original must be simply superb !

The cover of the book shows a Japanese lady with down cast eyes.Only her face can be seen & that too partly as it is covered with her jet black hair  falling on her cheeks & beyond.Her lips,nose,eyes, forehead can be seen & one gets to see just a glimpse.

The story begins with a small party .Within two days ,the man of the house lies dead. Autopsy reveals death by poisoning.His wife Ayane was away from the house where her hubby lay dead.So ,her involvement is ruled out.The investigating officer,Kusanagi, is attracted towards Ayane .He is getting  closer to her as the investigation progresses.

Aayne runs a quilting class & Hiromi is her favourite student. Aayne 's creations are very eye catching .Aayne is very fond of flowers & grows them around the house.Even when she is being questioned,she needs to water her flowering plants.No wonder,Kusanagi has fallen for her !

The fresh detective Utsumi has her womanly instincts intact & she suspects Ayane & even Hiromi,Ayane's student who had discovered the body.She feels that her boss,Kusanagi is blinded by love for Ayane .This Utsumi feels, is clouding his probe into the death of Aayne's husband ,Yoshitaka.

The investigation is proceeding & yet there is no outcome.What was the motive behind the murder ? Who murdered Yoshitaka ? His wife Aayne, who seems crestfallen by his death ? Is she acting her part ? Is she involved ? What about Hiromi ? How & why did she discover the corpse ?

Utsumi decides to bring in a physicist  Yukawa, to solve the case.Utsumi is in awe of Yukowa as he has solved so many cases before by unraveling tricks .Utsumi feels that was just magic.Yukowa is not so sure if he can solve this case.He is of the opinion, that criminal minds think differently & there are no tricks.Yet ,he agrees to help .

Will Yukawa be able to see through the plot ? Will the murderer be discovered ? Or was it just a case of suicide ? Has Utsumi done the right thing, by bringing in Yukawa ?

Where was the poison concealed - in which ingredient ? Maybe something like garam masala which is added to enhance taste ? Did Yoshitaka take the poison himself ? If not ,then how was it administered to him ? By wife or someone else ? When was it given to him ? Is Kusanagi justified in feeling that Aayne is a saint ?

The novel of 373 pages is arranged in 33  chapters & very neat.One gets a peek into the life in Japan - high society life of Aayne,her quilt class,Hiromi who is her student,& the lives of the police who are probing the case.Japanese seem to enjoy various teas.Aayne is depicted to be delicate though she comes off as very strong. Hiromi is more vulnerable .Aayne's pointed questions & answers throw the police off track  many times.

The translation as said earlier, is superb.It  keeps the reader on the edge.The thriller is mysterious though the characters are few &  the story is simple.A simple story told in a very mysterious manner ! After this book,I am sure ,I would very much love to read "The Devotion of Suspect X " by the same author.

I would recommend this book  to all readers of murder mysteries.Needless to add,a   completely engaging book.

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