Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he's planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, in a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems.
Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka's best friend. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same high school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Osamu Nonoguchi left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka. But Kaga thinks something is a little bit off with Nonoguchi's statement and investigates further, ultimately executing a search warrant on Nonoguchi's apartment. There he finds evidence that shows that the two writers' relationship was very different than the two claimed. Nonoguchi confesses to the murder, but that's only the beginning of the story.
In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the writer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. Which one of the two writers was ultimately guilty of malice?
Set in 1996, Higashino's first Kyoichiro Kaga novel to be translated into English is as fiendishly clever as The Devotion of Suspect X (2011), the first in his Detective Galileo series. Kaga finds that he has a personal connection to a murder case. Popular novelist Kunihiko Hidaka was strangled in his home, in some unspecified part of Japan, not long after a visit from his old friend Osamu Nonoguchi, who was also Kaga's colleague when the detective was a teacher. Nonoguchi, one of two potential suspects, has no obvious motive for committing the crime, unlike the other suspect, Miyako Fujio. A few years earlier, Hidaka wrote a successful novel featuring a nasty lead character, a thinly disguised version of Miyako's brother, Masayo. Higashino offers one twist after another, all of which touch on the theme suggested by the book's title. Readers will marvel at the artful way the plot builds to the solution of Hidaka's murder.