Salvation of a Saint is a book by award winning author Keigo Higashino which has been translated by Alexander O. Smith with Elye J. Alexander. This is one of those books which I have been looking forward to read just out of curiosity and not for the purpose of reviewing it. Good call, as I could really enjoy the adventures of Detective Galileo or physics professor Manabu Yukawa, whose brilliant scientific mind, comes with weird alternative possibilities that questions every answer the police have for the murder mystery, as he returns with a bang to solve an impossible murder which had become possible.
Facts, theories, and clues are blown away as instinct takes over. The experience was like in the old times when I enjoyed the books of Agatha Christie, where Hercule Poirot solved the murder mysteries as I held my breath forgetting to eat and sleep. The book does not try to hide the criminal, creating the big question “Whodunit?” It is rather very oblivious who had the motive and a good one at that. Most of the readers would not be sympathizing with the victim, but rather feel he did not deserve such an easy death for the misogynist he is, who treats wife as a child bearing machine. He is rich, arrogant and wants a child. More preposterous than our own clan of Indian men, Yoshitaka Mashiba treats his wife as a source to fulfill his desire of having a child of his own, and in case she fails he is going to marry someone else and move on. The beautiful wife of the victim AyaneYoshitaka who charms the sense out of the investigating officer, along with the readers who do not want her to be the murderer though she has great motive to do it.
The narrative is very gripping as the detectives try to work out the possible way he could have been poisoned. Even though there is just one plot in the whole novel, the author Keigo Higanshino brings in so many alternatives and subplots that the reader is surprised and shocked at each one of them. He takes us to the edge of belief that the mystery is about to be solved before pushing us back to the darkness of ignorance. The cat and mouse game being played with our minds, will keep us glued to the book until we get all the answers.
Unlike other mystery novels which depend wholly on the twist in the end, ‘Salvation of a Saint’ works on the characters built by the author, their emotions and lives to hold your breath. The portrayal of the dilemma’s, greed, envy, ego, anguish, suffering and other human emotions are depicted in an exceptional style and in a unique way, which made me feel for the characters in the book. The writing is good enough to create visions of the story in my mind, where the characters come alive and perform. Moreover they get you entangled in their world of emotions. That is the sign of a great writer. More than the story, plot, mystery or answers to the question, “How was he murdered?” you can enjoy the sheer writing skill and talent of the author in this book. The confidence of the author is clear as he has not sought refuge from sex, violence, or any other gimmicks of modern days for making the book popular. It is written clean, like old time mystery novels which thrived on suspense and skill of the author himself.
No matter how attentive you have been to the clues in the novel, it is going to get you stymied in the end. Great book to spend your Sunday with! It is 384 pages of bliss.