‘Malice’ is a murder mystery by Japanese writer Keigo Higashino who also wrote the Detective Galileo novels – ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ and ‘Salvation of a Saint’ and a lot of other novels that haven’t been translated into English (I hope a few more will be).
Kunihiko Hodaka and Osamu Nonogucchi have known each other since school and have stayed in touch with each other. Hidaka is now a famous author while Nonogucchi has recently quit his job as a school teacher to write full time. Nonogucchi visits Hidaka shortly before Hidaka is due to move to Canada with his second wife Rie.
Later that evening Hidaka asks Nonogucchi to return to his house, but when Nonogucchi arrives, the lights are out and there is no answer at the door. When he and Rie enter the locked house and Hidaka’s locked office they find him dead.
Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga very quickly determines the identity of the killer but takes a bit longer to work out a motive for the murder. He searches through the backgrounds of those involved and every time that he thinks he has the answer, he peels back another layer to find another story. The motive ends up being buried deep in the past.
This was such a clever story with layer upon layer of mystery. It was good to read a murder mystery that was focused on the WHY rather than the WHO.
Kaga was an excellent character and I enjoyed reading about him going through the process of unravelling the motive for the crime. I hope that we get to meet Kaga again in future novels.
While the English translation was released this year, the original book was written in Japanese in 1996, so technological changes are obvious – mobile phones were rare and fax machines were common.
I’m looking forward to the next Detective Galileo novel – ‘A Midsummer’s Equation’ due to be released in English in the not too distant future.
Book Published 1996
Book Published in English 2014