A Midsummer's Equation



A Midsummer's Equation
Higashino Keigo
Alexander O. Smith (Translator)
358pp

One of the most wonderful thing about popular characters is the relationship that develops between that person and the author who created/creates them. There is often so much love, so much hate, maybe jealousy and envy, sometimes downright nastiness.

The greatest example of this type of thing are of course in King's Misery, where King hobbles and tortures himself as a character to express the obsession of some of his fans.

Another special example is how Christie left off with Poirot... but I'll leave that ending to those who choose to read it.

I mention all of this because there are hints of the author's feelings all along the way, and one of the most common of these hints is when the author chooses to decrease the amount of "screen time" his star takes up. This placates the publishers who want so badly to stamp the characters' name all over the book, and the author, who wants to write a story about other people altogether.

I write all that to get to this; this 6th Detective Galileo story has the trademarks of an author pushed to add a character when he rather wouldn't, and so instead of a Detective Galileo book, we have a separate mystery which our old hero happens to walk directly into.

Is that a complaint? Surely it is one, but about the industry as a whole, and not about this as a book, and a book that I enjoyed very much.

A body found, dead at the bottom of a steep cliff, but who is he and how did he fall... or did he fall at all? Turns out he is a politician and things begin to appear that maybe, just maybe, there is a connection between the local protests against some work that is damaging the environment and the death. However, would a pacifist kill?

That's the basic setup and the mystery and payoff are all fun, and all make sense with the clues, leading to a little race to see if the reader is smarter than our detective. Probably not, but we are always smarter than the local police, which is a lovely consolation.

But, between the lines, I feel like Higashino didn't really need his main detective here... but this is the struggle of popularity, and I assume this is not the end of our dealings with the smooth master of science and math.

Recommended and fun. Lacking any of the dark (besides the death and all) that much of Higashino's work encounters.

Amazon USA

Amazon Japan


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