|22 June 2016|
Manabu Yukawa is second only to Sherlock Holmes in my list of favorite pompous curmudgeons of all fictional detectives. I would rather have a ‘sake’ with Inspector Kyoichiro Kaga, the other detective to feature in Keigo Higashino’s work. But Yukawa is brilliant, no doubt about that. And so is Keigo Higashino, perhaps the best currently – active detective fiction writer.
We first encounter Yukawa in ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ a labyrinthine, compelling modern masterpiece of detective fiction. In trademark Higashino style, the reader is introduced to the crime and the criminal in the first chapter.
Yasuko Hanaoka is a single mother with a teenage daughter. She works at a local restaurant, and keeps out of trouble. Her seemingly peaceful life is interrupted with the reappearance of her estranged husband, Togashi , an abusive, evil drunkard. One day, Togashi comes by demanding money, and not stopping at Hanaoka, he starts to harass her daughter Misato. In desperation, Hanaoka and Misato manage to strangulate and kill Togashi.
Hanaoka starts to panic, and thinks of taking all the blame of the murder on herself so that her daughter is unharmed.
Just then, their neighbor Ishigami, a reclusive sort of a man, knocks their door. He somehow has figured out about the murder, and offers his assistance. The body is somehow disposed of – Ishigami takes care of everything, as he had promised. We realise that he is in love with Hanaoka, is completely devoted, and will go to any length to protect her. What does he want in return, though?