This meticulously crafted novel presents the reader with a series of red herrings created by an admitted murderer to thwart the lead detective’s investigation. With a written confession in hand, the problem the police face is determining the motive. And it isn’t easy.
A best-selling author, Kunihiko Hidaka, is found by his wife of one month and friend, Osamu Nonoguchi, on the floor of his office, having been hit on the head with a heavy object and strangled. The home is locked, as is the office. The case is assigned to detective Kyochiro Kaga, who years ago taught at the same school as Nonoguchi. During his investigation, Kaga develops various theories, determines Nonoguchi is guilty, and obtains a written confession. But he remains unsatisfied because he can’t establish a motive. Thus begins a cat-and-mouse game between the detective and the perpetrator.
The author has constructed a whodunit with puzzle after puzzle, including the classic locked-room murder. In an excellent translation, the author’s crisp prose carries the reader along as Kaga moves ahead step by step, confronting the murderer as he comes up with a new theory. The only criticism is that each new theory is unveiled too quickly by Kaga, without any previous clues for the reader. Other than that, the novel is recommended....Continua