Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Higashino, Keigo; Malice

A best-selling novelist is found dead in his locked study inside his locked house the day before he and
his wife were due to leave Tokyo for Vancouver.   The wife has a solid alibi as does Nonoguchi, the
dead man's best friend, who had visited him the evening before.   The detective investigating the case,
Kyochiro Kaga, knows Nonoguchi from the time when both were teachers.   He finds the latter's
statement does not quite fit and finds evidence linking him with the murder.   Nonoguchi confesses
and writes an extended statement in which he claims to have been the originator of the dead man's
success as he was blackmailed into writing the novels on which this success rests.   The blackmail is
the result of his being caught trying to murder Hidaka, the dead man, years earlier so that he could
continue an affair with Hidaka's wife.   She has been dead for a few years.the widow being from a
second marriage.   The opening chapters alternate between Nonoguchi's story and confession and
Saga's investigation, the latter continuing after the confession because he does not accept the
murderer's motivation as stated.   The story flows easily despite the changing viewpoints until the
closing chapters when the true situation is elegantly revealed.   I picked this novel up with two more
by the same author at a considerable discount even though they are recently printed.   On the basis
of this book, a very worthwhile purchase.

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