Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Devotions of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Interesting if somewhat slow detective novel based in Japan. A young woman and her daughter end up killing her abusive ex-husband. The brilliant mathematician next door helps her to dispose of the body. Detectives investigate, with the assistance of a brilliant physicist who was once a collegue of the mathematician. The investigation ends up being a chess game between the two brilliant men. The tale is an exploration of the lengths to which devotion will drive some people, and flirts with some mathematical/philosophical principals. Its prose is straightforward and unadorned, never gets in the way but is also without any particular elegance. I’m willing to chalk this up to the version I read being an English translation. The characters are fairly wooden and shallow; they’re almost cardboard cutouts really. The tenacious detective. The brilliant physicist. The socially awkward mathematician. Swallowed this one in an single sitting on a transatlantic back from Ireland with the Professor. Was my least favorite of the books I read on the trip.

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