cover image The Final Curtain

The Final Curtain

Keigo Higashino, trans. from the Japanese by Giles Murray. Minotaur, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-76752-3

Tokyo police detective Kyoichiro Kaga discovers an unsettling personal connection to a tricky murder case in the brilliantly twisty fourth entry in Higashino’s series (after 2022’s A Death in Tokyo). Kaga’s cousin, Shuhei Matsumiya, a detective with a separate division of the Tokyo police, suspects that two strangulation murders may be linked, despite no evidence of a connection between the victims. In the first, an unidentified homeless man was believed to have perished in a fire until an autopsy revealed smoke-free lungs and strangulation marks on his neck. A few weeks later, cleaning contractor Michiko Oshitani’s decomposing remains are discovered in a spartan Tokyo apartment hundreds of miles from her home with apparent strangulation marks around her neck. Though the crimes are outside Kaga’s jurisdiction, Matsumiya seeks his cousin’s advice. Soon afterward, Matsumiya’s colleagues discover a calendar in the apartment where Oshitani died with phrases that hearken back to the death of Kaga’s mother more than a decade ago. She’d left Kaga’s father long before that to pursue another man, and among her effects was a note with the same phrases as the calendar, and in the same handwriting. Higashino metes out the plot’s surprises slowly, prioritizing Kaga’s emotional response to the investigation. This poignant fair-play whodunit is sure to thrill fans of golden age detective fiction. (Dec.)