Newcomer by Keigo Higashino – Review

Book: Newcomer
Author: Keigo Higashino
Publisher: Hachette India
Pages: 342; Price: Rs 399

I am investigating the murder, of course I am. But my job as a detective should go beyond that. People who have been traumatized by a crime are victims, too. Finding ways to comfort them is also a part of my job.” Detective Kyoichiro Kaga tells one of the characters and that’s exactly what he does throughout the book. Be it reuniting estranged father and son along with the father’s love child (the victim’s family), to keeping secrets for some characters, Kaga helps characters move on in their lives—helps them heal as he goes on solving the case.

Every character looks like a suspect from the word go. And to stop the murderer from eluding the law, Detective Kaga goes into minute details and scrutinises every aspect of all the characters’ lives. But, at the end of each chapter, you are back to square one wondering who the killer might be. It’s only towards the end of the book that the writer swings the story towards the killer.

Though Keigo Higashino has written a murder mystery, each chapter reads like an independent short story of love and relationship, especially the ones in the beginning. Unlike some other murder mysteries, the author in this book spares you the gory details about the way the murder was committed, but rather gives you a detailed account of why the murder was committed.

The credit should also go to Giles Murray who has done a fabulous job with the translation. Never once you feel as if you are reading a translated work…it is that good. The book is quite slow compared to some other books in this genre, there’s never a dull moment in the book in this Sherlock Holmes-like murder mystery.

Interestingly, the title Newcomer, seems like it’s related to the victim—because she has moved into the Nihonbashi area just recently, but it actually is for the detective and the book concludes Detective Kaga telling his partner Uesugi: “Me? Nobody special. In this neighbourhood, I’m just a newcomer.”

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