Salvation of a Saint
by Keigo Higashino
Well, I am not a pro in book reviews, nor I have the requisite qualifications and experiences of writing a proper book review, nor I am trying the same here, rather this is my personal take on my experiences of reading this perfect mystery novel Salvation of A Saint, written by someone of the caliber of Keigo Higashino. And I can say that this is one of the few books that I have finished reading at one go. Kept me on the tenterhooks, and will do the same to you, I hope 🙂
I haven’t read many Japanese authors and didn’t have much idea about the mystery stories scene in Japan. Though courtesy of television I am quite well aware of the horror movies popularity of Japan and I love many of the chilling horror movies coming out of Japan, which have been made into major Hollywood flicks. But about Japanese mystery story writers, I didn’t have much exposure.
So, when I found this book in the shelf of my favorite book store in my home city almost 4-5 years back, I picked it up, mainly because I was somehow attracted to the cover, it was kind of haunting and chilling, in a very Japanese way. And going through the synopsis on the back, I felt this longing interest to go through the book, and immediately went to the counter and purchsed it.
Thus my tryst with Keigo Higashino began. I came to know that he is one the topmost respected mystery story writers in Japan, an engineer by profession from Osaka. Winner of several writers’ awards in Japan, and being the 13th President of the Mystery Writers’ of Japan, he has several top selling books including The Devotion of Suspect X and The Midsummer’s Equation among many others.
Salvation of A Saint
What intrigued me about this book is the author’s ability to hold his readers glued to the 377th page of the book to find out the true motive and the procedural details of the murder that took place, that also, when he almost cleared in the very first five pages who the murderer was !! And I think that is the most difficult thing to do for any author. Books like Salvation of a Saint goes beyond the usual route of classic mystery novels of a whodunit and rather tackles the howdunit in the most researched and carefully engineered way. As the book tries to go deep into the mysteries of human mind and it’s capabilities of the most coldest crimes possible, the author successfully creates the chilling effect of portraying the murderous mind of the suspect. Five star from me to this one.
The story revolves around the mysterious death of business tycoon, the powerful, ruthless, ultra rich company CEO Yoshitaka Mashiba in his kitchen in his mansion. The cause of the death was apparently assumed from coffee poisoning as is evident in the coffee cup found beside the dead body.
The body was discovered by the beautiful apprentice artist student Hiromi Wakayama, who was holding a key to the house, and also happens to be in a passionate relationship with Yoshitaka. Thus Hiromi was naturally one of the prime suspects.
And then there was Ayane Mita, the demure, much silent, poignant, beautful wife of Yoshitaka, a very talented quilt artist under whom Hiromi was the apprentice student. Ayane holds the police detective Shunpei Kusanagi of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and his accomplice, the young detective Kaoro Utsumi, in chilling awe of her cold presence and confident handling of all their queries.
Even though Ayane Mita had the strong alibi of not being present at the time and place of murder, since she was far away at her parents place, but she was also one of the prime suspects of the murder.
So we have two prime suspects, and I strongly felt that any one of these two murdered. And I started wondering what Keigo was trying to prove, he already had given his murderers to the reader.
And then I wondered, why this murder, and how, and ultimately who did it, Ayane or Hiromi ? And I kept on reading, page after page, plots, subplots, twists and turns, read and re-read till the last page, and that’s where I will leave you to find out :). My favorite character of the story is the chilling, cold, calculative Ayane Mita.