Saturday, May 4, 2013

Book Review: Salvation of a Saint - Keigo Higashino

Being a blogger has had more perks than I had ever imagined possible before creating this blog. It was only a means of self expression for me back then. How much it has indeed evolved over these three odd years, with it now being a source of some amazing new literary works for me to read. And trust BlogAdda to come out with the most varied genres of books when it comes to their Book Reviews program. Despite a severe shortage of time that is currently keeping me from reading or writing anything much these days - I am not complaining!

The book today at The Bookworm's Word is Salvation of a Saint - a Japanese murder mystery by Keigo Higashino, translated into English very adeptly by Alexander O. Smith. An uncanny pick, since I don't read much of crime fiction and I have never really read a non-English work before. But it was inescapable, really.

The core of the story is as simple as it gets. A Japanese couple on the verge of a split-up are hosting what could perhaps be their last get-together as man and wife. And then the wife goes over to her parents' for the weekend while the husband is found dead at their house under mysterious circumstances while she's away. The wife as well as her young patchwork apprentice come under the investigative net. Both seem to be deeply involved in the twisted thread that holds the mystery together. Moreover one of the detectives becomes unusually partial to the wife, while another is dead against her from the word go. A genius scientist ultimately has to step in to help unravel what is touted as 'the perfect crime'. How they together arrive at a solution makes for an amazing journey.

Who dies, and how, is no big secret and is revealed quite easily. The 'who' part is somewhat guessable a few chapters into the book, and even though you'd never be sure if your guess is right until almost the end, you can safely assume you know the killer. But it's the 'how' part that sends everyone into a real tizzy. And the end reveals one of the most innovative and unique ways to kill somebody that I've ever come across in literature or on TV. I hope no psychopath gets around to reading this book lest s/he gets any ideas!!

The translation from Japanese to English is particularly exceptional. In sheer defiance of the saying 'lost in translation', the intensity of the writing and the details of daily life within a Japanese household and society are perfectly expressed throughout the volume. It was an insightful read and at the same time really un-put-down-able (yeah I just love that non-word). The details, the characters and the circumstances have been meticulously crafted and students of science like me would find it utterly intriguing to read and make their own conjectures and predictions. Though it was stretched a bit too much at a couple of places, especially towards the end, but a really good read in its entirety. I am given to understand that this book is a part of the author's Detective Galileo series, with the major characters remaining the same throughout the titles. Nevertheless, a first timer will not find anything amiss and will enjoy the book as an individual piece of crime fiction.

The 377-page book, being an international title, is rather steeply priced at Rupees 350. I would give it 3 stars out of 5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

1 comment:

Amar Ashok Jajoo said...

I think I'll read the book after this review. :) .. A review is like telling a story without revealing it's very end. The more easy it sounds, the more it's difficult, because it not only tests your intelligence, but also your understanding about different aspects of reading! You've covered most of it! :)