My Rating: ⭐️⭐⭐⭐⭐
About the Author:
Keigo Higashino (born February 4, 1958 ) is the single bestselling, best-known novelist in Japan and around Asia, with numerous television and film adaptations of his work appearing in several languages. He’s the author of ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, which was the finalist for the Edgar Award for best novel, and ‘Malice’, among many others.
He was working as an engineer before he began writing. He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize for writing at age 27 and subsequently quit his job to start a career as a writer in Tokyo. Keigo was the President of ‘The Mystery Writers of Japan’ from 2009 to 2013. He is renowned for his mystery novels which have garnered many awards and recognition from all over.
Publication Year: 2005
‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ begins with Yasuko, a divorced mother who lives with her daughter Misato. Her abusive husband who has been extorting money from her decides to show up at her place. Things go out of hand and Yasuko ends up killing him with the help of Misato.
Her next-door neighbor Ishigami, a high school math teacher, is aware of this incident. He takes control of the situation and helps her get rid of the body and cover up the murder. He also provides them with instructions on how to deal with the police.
This book was fantastic! It had a cleverly constructed mystery and what made it unique was the fact that it revolved around finding how the crime was committed rather than who committed it, as the identity of the criminal was already revealed in the very beginning. I was totally invested in the book and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
It was such a delight to see two geniuses battling it out. The story revolves around two main characters: Ishigami, a teacher obsessed with Maths, who likes solving difficult problems and Yukawa, a physicist and his former colleague, known as ‘Detective Galileo’ who is considered as the master of observation. He assists police frequently in their investigations.
“It’s more difficult to create the problem than to solve it. All the person trying to solve the problem has to do is always respect the problem’s creator.”
We are presented with a mathematical conundrum- P = NP: whether it’s more difficult to think of the solution to a problem yourself or to ascertain if someone else’s answer to the same problem is correct. Ishimagi weaves an elaborate story of murder around him and presents the answer while it rests on Yukawa to figure it out.
“When an amateur attempts to conceal something, the more complex he makes his camouflage, the deeper the grave he digs for himself. But not so a genius. The genius does something far simpler, yet something no normal person would even dream of, the last thing a normal person would think of doing. And from this simplicity, immense complexity is created.”
The brilliance of this book lies in its simplicity. Ishigami likes designing problems in a way that takes advantage of the blind spot created by a person’s assumption which tricks him. From the start, we are presented with some information and we try to figure it out considering one possibility but in the end, we find that we fell into the trap. That’s what Ishigami does and that’s what the book does to you.
“Sometimes, all you had to do was exist in order to be someone’s saviour.”
I got the L and Kira (Death Note) vibes from it simply because of the way both were trying to outmaneuver each other. I felt really bad for Ishigami at the end. I sympathized with him when I learned the reason for his devotion. But all actions have consequences and this is no different. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book immensely.
If you’re a fan of thriller, you should definitely read this book.