The Devotion of Suspect X – Keigo Higashino

My Rating – 4/5

Source – Review copy from

Summary –

Yasuko, a single mother murders her ex-husband Togashi in a fit of rage. It’s a crime of passion and she wants to give herself up. But Ishigami, her neighbour and a brilliant mathematician has other plans. Secretly in love with Yasuko, he invents a web, mixing truth with red herrings with such ingenuity that the police end up at a dead end at every turn. But will Ishigami’ clever plan work? Can Yasuko hold herself firm against an investigation that is straining her nerves?

Review –

I had never read Japanese mysteries so far. So when I got the chance to get a copy of The Devotion of Suspect X through Blogadda’s review program, I immediately signed for it. The Devotion of Suspect X is a different kind of mystery and a really good one too. Sure there is a murder, but we know who the murder is right from the beginning. The real plot revolves around the police investigation and the attempt of the “Suspect X”, professor Ishigami to throw the police off the trail.

The story – Yasuko lives with her young daughter Misato. She works in a lunch shop and thinks that she has finally escaped from her ex-husband Togashi. But then one day, Togashi lands at her apartment. One thing leads to another and before we know Togashi is dead, strangled by Yasuko using an electric cord. Fearful and desperate, the mother and her daughter receive help from an unexpected quarter. Their quiet neighbour, maths teacher Ishigami comes to their rescue. He hatches a plan to dispose of the body and creates an alibi for them. Detective Kusanagi is investigating the murder and comes to interview Yasuko. Even though he suspects something is not quite correct, he is not able to break their vulnerable alibi. In spite of the best efforts by the police, the apparently flimsy alibi of the duo holds strong. Kusanagi turns to his friend Yukawa, a brilliant physicist and incidentally Ishigami’s old friend, for help.

I will stop here as beyond this point I would be giving up the suspense. The plot is really clever. It lacked the action normally associated with mysteries and yet managed to hold my attention till the end. We know what Ishigami has done for Yasuko but the real suspense lies in figuring out how he did it. The book is entirely based on Detective Kusanagi’s various interviews with Yasuko and Ishigami and his discussions with Yukawa. Yet the twist in the end is quite tantalising.

The book maintains a good pace throughout. The character development is somewhat flat but that does not hamper the overall read. I would have loved to read the book in first tense through the minds of Ishigami and Yukawa because most of the book is a battle of wits between them.  Also both of them are totally different personalities in spite of being genius in their chosen fields. Ishigami is aloof and totally introvert, not remotely concerned with anything outside mathematics whereas Yukawa is outgoing, someone who can hold conversation on almost any subject. So it would have been really interesting to look at the same events from two different mind-set. An intriguing read nevertheless and I am giving it an extra point for its ingenious plot.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.

The book is available cheapest in India at –

1. Uread 2. Homeshop 18 3. Bookadda 4. Infibeam


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