Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko's next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step.
When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko's manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there's something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.
Genre: Fiction, Japanese, Crime, Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
There is not a whole lot I can say about this book. The blurb above sums up the story pretty well, and although an enjoyable enough read, there wasn't anything really special about this book.... no wow factor.
It was a quick read. A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The sort of read that once you are done, it's pretty much gone out of your head the next day. That isn't meant as a criticism, just because this novel wasn't memorable doesn't make it a bad book.
I'd recommend this book if you are looking for something that is easy to read, something you can devour in one sitting and not have to think too hard. I guess you could liken it to watching CSI, fun at the time but not something that is going to make you question your life, floor you with observations or distract you later, while driving.
The characters aren't going to get under your skin, the prose isn't going to make your heart ache from it's beauty, and you sure aren't going to hug this book to your chest with tears in your eyes when it's done. But you know what, that is ok! Where would we be if all books affected us so profoundly? It wouldn't be good for the soul... sometimes, we just need something light and fun. Something to distract us from our work and woes, and this book will provide just that.
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