Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


SILENT PARADE by Keigo Higashino: Book Review

Two young girls are killed nearly twenty years apart.  Although the police are certain who the killer is and arrest him each time, the evidence is circumstantial; there are no fingerprints and no witnesses to the crime.   The suspect, Kanichi Hasunuma, refuses to speak a word to the authorities.  Both times the prosecutors reluctantly let him go, and so he remains a free man.

The Namiki family owns the Namiki-ya restaurant in Tokyo.  They were a devoted family of four–the parents and their two daughters–until a night three years before the novel opens and teenager Saori Namiki disappears.

A gifted singer, Saori is discovered by Naoki Niikura and his wife Rumi.  The music impresarios are blown away by her talent, and with the agreement of her parents, Saori embarks on a singing career.  Then, one night after leaving the restaurant for a walk, the girl fails to return.  Despite an intensive search by her parents, friends, and the police, no trace of her is found, and she is never seen again.

Three years later, a fire the police believe is arson destroys an old house that was called a “trash house” because it was so filled with junk that the effects overflowed to the lawn and sidewalk.  The house belonged to an elderly woman, a hermit who lived there by herself, and when the authorities investigated the fire they discovered two bodies inside the house, neither recently deceased.  One is the remains of the owner, the other proves via DNA evidence to be that of Saori Namiki.

Detective Chief Inspector Kusanagi investigated the first disappearance years earlier and has been called in to investigate Saori’s murder.  In the first case, Hasunuma sued the police force for reparations and won; now that he’s been released for lack of evidence a second time, he goes to the Namiki-ya restaurant and informs the Namikis that he’ll be suing them for compensation for falsely saying that he murdered their daughter.

Then Detective Kusanagi meets up with his old friend Manubu Yukawa.  Yukawa has been nicknamed Detective Galileo for his deductive powers and insights into crimes; in fact, the cover of Silent Parade calls the mystery “A Detective Galileo Novel” although Yukawa is not a policeman.   He is a professor of physics, recently returned from a research trip to the United States, who has helped Kusanagi in previous cases.  And although he professes indifference to this crime, it in fact has piqued his interest, and he goes to the Namiki-ya for dinner to get a sense of the family.  Thus the investigation into Saori Namiki’s take a new turn.

Keigo Higashino is Japan’s best-selling novelist, with more than fifty television and film adaptations of his work and multiple awards.  You can read about him on many internet sites.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

Leave a Reply