Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Crime Master Alfred Hitchcock once said - “I’m full of fears and I do my best to avoid difficulties and any kind of complications. I like everything around me to be clear as crystal and completely calm.”

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino resembles more of a clever Alfred Hitchcock plot rather than a gory Stieg Larsson escapade as says the cover page of this book.

The Plot
The plot is simple. Yasuko leads a simple life as a waitress in a little diner supporting her young daughter Misato as a single mother. One usual day of work, her alcoholic ex-husband Togashi makes an appearance toppling her world. As he harasses Yasuko and Misato with his demands for money, an aggrieved Misato attacks. In the ensuing scuffle, Togashi falls dead.  Next door, an infatuated genius mathematician Ishigami listens and understands. He calmly steps in to protect his lady love and support her to get away. He weaves a brilliant story and creates circumstances that baffle the detectives and clues that lead to nowhere.

Even though the reader knows the murderer and how it was done, it makes for a thrilling read as the police investigator Kusangi tries to unravel the web that Ishigami has woven.  Ishigami ensures that the prime suspect mother-daugher duo have irrefutable alibis, and has a chain of clues that lead to absolutely nowhere and far away from Yasuko and Misato. Even as he stakes all to win Yasuko’s heart, little does he know that there is already someone else in her life. To add to Ishigami’s anxiety, comes along an old friend, Yukawa, a brilliant physics professor who has studied in the past with Ishigami. As the usually reclusive Ishigami meets with his old friend, he realizes that Yukawa is an aide to the police investigating the case and to add to the irony of the situation; Yukawa seeks Ishigami’s help in investigating Yasuko!

The emotional turmoil that the characters go through is well-placed in this otherwise fast-paced plot. Thankfully it is not really sappy or too sentimental and one can almost picture the geeky Ishigami in love and seeking to protect his damsel in distress quietly and unobtrusively while hoping she accepts him.
Elements of a best seller are a good story that keeps the readers on tenterhooks, strong characters with well delineated emotions and crisp editing. The Devotion of Suspect X had all these factors in its favor and the very unexpected twist at the end ensured that the reader will not forget the story for a long while. However perhaps it is a little unbelievable that any person would do so much for his love, especially when it is not even reciprocated or even known.  But that apart, I think most of the story was very believable, and everything stacked up well with no loose ends.

The Verdict –For a story well told, with all elements of a commercial potboiler- drama, pretty woman, damned villain, mystery, and last but the best of all, an original twist in the tale I will give 4/5 stars.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!


  1. It must be a good book as you say everyone knows the murderer and the manner of the murder right from the beginning. A storyline like that has to be rather dexterously woven thereafter to retain interest. 5/5 sounds delicious.

    1. Yup it is. Didn't find any reason to give it less than 5 though I tried hard to find faults :)

  2. I have heard so much about this book.Your review makes it all the more tempting to read !

  3. that sounds like a nice pick