Book Review: Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

Salvation of a Saint is a clever mystery that had me guessing not “whodunit” but “howtheydunit” until the very end. Well done, Mr. Higashino!

I read Salvation of a Saint as part of the 2021 Thoughtful Reading Challenge. November’s challenge was to read a book with “saint” in the title because All Saints Day falls in November. I’m afraid I’m a little late with my book review. :-/

Salvation of a Saint is set in Tokyo and begins with the breakup of a marriage. Yoshitaka tells his wife, Ayane, that he’s leaving her after a year of marriage because she’s infertile. They agreed before the wedding that they would separate after a year if they didn’t have any children by then. Even though she knew it was coming, Ayane is hurt by his request for a divorce.

A few days later, Yoshitaka lies dead in his living room, the murder weapon a cup of poisoned coffee. Ayane is the logical culprit, but she was hundreds of miles away when the murder happened. There aren’t any obvious clues about how the poison got into the coffee and the police are stumped.

salvation of a saint

The two main detectives on the case are Kusanagi (a mildly chauvinistic man) and Utsumi (a woman rookie). Utsumi becomes worried when Kusanagi appears to have a crush Ayane and consults with physics professor Yukawa for some objective help.

Yukawa is nicknamed Detective Galileo, and this book is part of a series named for him. He’s coldly rational but I liked his approach to problem solving. He doesn’t get defensive when one of his theories is disproved – he just tosses it and moves on to testing his next theory.

As Yukawa and the two detectives begin digging into the case and the lives of everyone involved in it, it becomes apparent that there’s more to it than they initially thought. Yukawa ultimately figures out how the poison got in the coffee and it’s a doozy. I think this is a mystery even Agatha Christie would applaud.

If you’re looking for a satisfying mystery novel, you can’t go wrong with Salvation of a Saint!

How about you? Did you read a book with saint in the title last month?

Reminder – December’s challenge is to read a book set in Hawaii in remembrance of the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

PS – I’ll post the 2022 Thoughtful Reading Challenge categories very soon.

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

  1. Interesting! I think I’d like that more than what I ended up reading. I read ‘Saint X’ by Alexis Schaitkin and didn’t find the characters likable or the ending too satisfying. Perhaps I was expecting more of a mystery, but it was a unique approach on privilege, grief, and choices. The pace of the story wasn’t something I was looking for, but it did get me out of my comfort zone. Pardon my sad approach at a review–I just got my booster the other day and have been spacier than usual!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked Salvation of a Saint but apparently not as much as you! Galileo was easily my favorite character in the book and it is easy to see why there is a series that revolves around him. For me, it took a while to get into the prose. The writing just seemed a bit choppy or abrupt. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was partially due to the translation or is this a difference in style? I did like the interaction between the two main detectives, but even more so between Kusanagi and Galileo. They were funny and abrasive and I liked that they had a long past together.
    Being a fan of whodunnits, I must admit I was waiting for an additional “gotcha” towards the end, which never came. Despite these shortcomings, it was fun to read a book by a foreign author and about Tokyo!


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