Skip to main content

Review - SALVATION OF A SAINT by Keigo Higashino

Keigo Higashino, who teased readers worldwide with his novel THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X about a year ago is back again with a new novel to tease again, intrigue again and keep readers turning the pages until the very end. The author known as 'the Japanese Stieg Larsson' has a reputation to maintain and he's certainly doing a good job of maintaining it.

True, it was an English playwright, Congreve, who said that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. But this is a universal phenomenon.   When the person you love stops loving you, it's a betrayal of all you've shared.  When that person is about to leave you for a friend of yours and tries to twist things round to make it look like it's your fault, the betrayal can be absolute and unforgiveable.  Ayane's husband Yoshitaka had told her that without children, their life together could not go on. For Ayane, grieving inwardly for her failure to bear a child,  the fact that her partner turns away from her rather than standing by her in that dark moment makes a terrible retribution inevitable.  Yoshitaka is found dead and Ayane is far from the scene.  Who poisoned this man?

Who knows the truth about this apparently happy couple and their life together?  Their friends Yukiko and Tatsuhiko who had recently produced their first child and had received a beautiful, handmade gift from Ayane, a talented crafter?  Hiromi, Ayane's assistant and Yoshitaka's secret lover?  Yoshitaka, the victim, elicits no sympathy, the arrogant male who was so ready to cast off his hapless wife for a newer , younger model, as one would trade in a car. As a woman, it made me furious.  Why is it that in every society in the world women seem to have a 'use before' date?  Ayane, the woman betrayed, seems so vulnerable.  But is Ayane really what she  seems to be on the surface? The answers, which must be unraveled by Detective Kusanagi, may not be be as simple and straightforward as originally envisaged.

We meet an assortment of complex characters.  What sort of man can be so unselfish that he turns away from a loving wife because she has failed to bear a child?  What sort of woman can betray no emotion as the emotional blows are dealt out and treat revenge as a dish eaten cold?  What sort of girl can cold bloodedly steal the husband of a woman who has befriended her?  Detective Kusanagi has his work cut out for him.  Detective Kusanagi's assistant, a female detective, is a delightful character, providing feminine insight into the whole sorry business, a crime involving two women.  I do hope what I'm hearing is the author's original voice.  Translated works may be technically perfect but they sometimes lose their fresh originality. I very much enjoyed the light touches of humour in the dialogue.

This is the second novel I've read by Keigo Higashino and I can honestly say that along with a talent for telling a story with layers and twists aplenty, he gives a fascinating glimpse into Japanese society, often considered complex and inscrutable by outsiders. A society where people are struggling to find some happiness and some meaning other than going about the daily grind. Would a child have given meaning and joy to the marriage of Yoshitaka and Ayane?  Who can know that? Once I pick up a book by this author, I cannot leave it down.  I generally  like to wait until I have at least two or three free hours, which has been impossible lately owing to problems with work and family.  Yet once I picked this up I couldn't leave it.  This book has the same fascination as THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X.  The same adrenaline rush as the book hurtles towards its inevitable - yet unexpected - conclusion.  The word 'compulsive' springs to mind.

As in the case of the previous book, I found the cluster of Japanese names a little less than easy to get my head around and repeat to the publishers that a character list at the opening of the book would be  great, if they could arrange it for future editions.  .

Yet in the end one can only say that east or west, Europe or Asia, society to society, ordinary men and women deal with the problems of life as they see fit, depending on their circumstances and cultural backgrounds.  The local can very much be the universal, depending on which way we view circumstances.

Do I recommend this book?  Yes, I do.

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


  1. I'll have to look out for that. I love a book that you cannot put down! I'm reading such a one now. *The Guilty One* by Lisa Ballantyne.
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May


Post a comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind.

We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together would…

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture?
I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really.

The Journey
I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after I arrived in India, I was struck by the number of people who said things to me like ‘in the …

Five Ways Social Media Has Changed Our Lives

Has social media changed the way we live? You bet it has! I’ve been in India for 22 years and have visited home in Ireland maybe half-a-dozen times. The biggest challenge about this, for me, has always been coping with the difficulty of making contact with old friends and family. However, that’s all over now, thanks to Facebook. I check my phone every morning and read that uncle Ned in Dublin is furious over the biased referee in the boxing match or that my cousin Paula in Dublin went to see Take That in concert (or whoever!). I speak to my cousin Veronica in Scotland every few days thanks to WhatsApp. We haven’t spoken this frequently since we wrote to each other as kids. Social media has definitely changed our lives forever. I can think of at least five ways that social in which it has affected life as we know it.

Social media makes the world more accessible to us. This is a fact. The world is at your fingertips. Find out which of your friends and family are on Facebook and once you …