MYSTERY

Newcomer

Minotaur: St. Martin's. Nov. 2018. 362p. tr. from Japanese by Giles Murray. ISBN 9781250067869. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466876538. M
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In this latest by seasoned suspense author Higashino (Under the Midnight Sun; The Devotion of Suspect X), Detective Kaga visits local business owners to learn who murdered Mineko Mitsui, a recent transplant to the Nihonbashi area of Tokyo. Instead of fading into the background as Kaga gets closer to the truth, these shopkeepers form the core of the novel—think a Law & Order episode dominated by the quiet dramas of the bit players. Most of their lives touched Mineko's only briefly, if at all, yet each gives Kaga a clearer picture of the woman and reveals that beneath its sedate surface, Nihonbashi bubbles with family secrets, joys, and pains. Though the discovery of the murderer's identity isn't shocking, the journey there is rewarding. Readers seeking a thriller full of abrupt twists and grisly violence may be disappointed, but many will appreciate Higashino's graceful prose and willingness to push the limits of the genre.
VERDICT For fans of the author, Seicho- Matsumoto, and other writers of deliberately paced mysteries. [See Prepub Alert, 5/14/18; "Editors' Fall Picks," LJ 8/18.]

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