Monday, June 28, 2010


『古畑任三郎: 赤か、青か』

"In the end, you can only rely on luck",

"Furuhata Ninzaburou: Red? Blue?"

For some reason, people here think I really, really like Higashino Keigo. Which is not true. I love his Meitantei Tenkaichi series, but setting that aside, it really depends on the book whether I like it or not. I like his easy writing and his characters, but at times he really doesn't feel like a detective writer.

Which does explain why he is one of the more prominent and better known detective writers.

But as I had to read a book for my Modern Japanese Literature course anyway, I chose a book by Higashino I had on my to-read list. A list tucked away in the depths of my memories, which I happened to remember while playing association games in my mind. But anyho~w.

Kaga Kyouichirou series
Sotsugyou ("Graduation") (1986)
Nemuri no Mori ("Forest of Sleep") (1989)
Dochiraka ga Kanojo wo Koroshita ("One of the Two Killed Her") (1996)
Akui ("Malice") (1996)
Watashi ga Kare wo Koroshita ("I Killed Him") (1999)
Uso wo Mou Hitotsu Dake ("One More Lie") (2000)
Akai Yubi ("Red Fingers")  (2006)
Shinzanmono ("Newcomer") (2009)
Kirin no Tsubasa ("The Wings of the Kirin") (2011)
Inori no Maku ga Oriru Toki ("When the Curtains of Hope Come Down") (2013)

The only reason Dochira ka ga kanojo wo koroshita ("One of the two killed her") stuck in my mind was that it's actually a detective novel without a clear ending. The author doesn't tell you who the murderer is. Which is interesting. The story revolves around the investigation regarding the death of police officer Izumi's sister. While it seems like it was a suicide, Izumi has reason to think his sister was actually murdered. And he sets off to hunt down the murderer himself. He manages to find two suspects. His sister's ex-boyfriend. And his sister's best friend, who stole Izumi's sister's boyfriend away from her. Either of them killed Izumi's sister, but which of them?

There is of course a conclusion to this book, but it doesn't use names, so you're left to deduce the murderer yourself. There is a sealed afterword in the pocket version, a transcript of a meeting held after the hardcover release discussing the solution it seems, but that only serves as an extra hint to the solution, I gather from the web (I, with my strange love for books, don't really want to cut open the sealed part).

The solution is hidden nicely. (it seems a significant hint had been deleted in the pocket version. It's still deducible though) and while in hindsight, it's a very boring solution, Higashino at least uses it in an interesting way. Still, while you certainly have to deduce the solution,

And heck, until halfway in the book I really thought Izumi was the main character, but thenl I noticed this book was the fourth in the Kaga Kyouichirou series. Not the Izumi series. Which explained why that detective Kaga was bothering Izumi with questions all the time.

Kaga is sorta like a Furuhata Ninzaburou, a police detective who picks up on the little things and once zeroed in on a suspect, doesn't let them be. I'm reading a short story collection of the Kaga series at the moment, and there it really feels like Furuhata Ninzaburou. You don't get to read about the crime itself, but in every story you're following the suspect as he/she's getting bothered by Kaga. A lot.

In any case, the Kaga Kyouichirou series seems like a fun Higashino series. It's at least fair, unlike Galileo. 

Original Japanese title(s): 東野圭吾 『どちらかが彼女を殺した』


  1. Interesting blog and interesting book as well.
    I like detective fiction and I'm studying Japanese, so I'll follow this blog...

    I wonder if there is any chance to find fully furiganized books of this genre...

  2. I doubt they exist, but Higashino Keigo's Japanese isn't that difficult.

    And the novels based on the manga Detective Conan and Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo (the Kindaichi books are actually quite good) are not fully furiganized like manga, but still feature a lot more furigana than 'normal' literature.

  3. いろんな情報をありがとうございます.

    I know it won't make me any good, but I'm still afraid of getting a non-furiganized book... so I read only comics like Detective Conan. But I will make a step forward one of these days.