Hardcover November 2016
Reviewed by Richard Goldman
Higashino is one of my favorite authors and has been high on my list of must-reads ever since The Devotion of Suspect X. Under the Midnight Sun did not disappoint. Wow, what a story in a big, meaty tale of murder, betrayal, love and persistence. Definitely persistence as a detective pursues a case over a span of over 25 years.
It all begins with discovery of a body in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973. A pawnbroker has been killed and as the police begin their investigation they have several suspects: the wife who was likely carrying on an affair, a woman who the victim was meeting with in secret, a perhaps a robber since the pawnbroker had withdrawn a large sum of money on the day of his death.
None of these leads pan out and the crime remains unsolved. Breaking completely with the conventions of the detective novel Higashino then moves the story forward through the ongoing lives of several characters; chief among them, Ryo, the son of the murdered man and Yukiho, the daughter of the woman he had been meeting with.
As the 500 plus page novel moves forward these characters move through high school, university and beyond over a span of over twenty years. During all this time the detective Sasagaki, although retired, has never given up his search for the murderer. In fact, he's accumulated new murders to solve.
The life stories that Higashino weaves together are fascinating in their own right and the suspicions of foul play just add spice to the mix. Among other things the book provides a fascinating glimpse of the rapid pace of change in Japan during the '70s and '80s as computers and video games begin to have their effect on nearly every aspect of Japanese life from teens to business executives.
A truly deep and wonderful novel that you can lose yourself in for many hours of pleasure and discovery. Although Higashino has a series character in the Detective Galileo who first appeared in The Devotion of Suspect X this novel is a standalone and can be enjoyed without regard to the earlier novels.