cover image Malice


Keigo Higashino, trans. from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith, read by Jeff Woodman. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, 6 CDs, 7.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-4431-4

A nearly perfect example of the classic deduction-based mystery novel, Higashino’s artfully constructed tale begins with the murder of bestselling author Kunihiko Hidaka in a locked office of his locked home. His body is discovered by his wife, Rie, and his friend from boyhood, Osamu Nonoguchi. The latter narrates some of the novel, but most of it is taken from the notes of the police detective assigned to the case, Kyochiro Kaga, an investigator with Sherlock Holmes’s eye for detail and the patience and dogged determination of a bank auditor. He quickly settles on a prime suspect, whose confession is just the beginning of a unique, extremely clever cat-and-mouse game that continues to the book’s satisfying conclusion. Woodman, a theater and television actor (Cymbeline, Sex in the City), thankfully shies away from Japanese stereotypes. The main two voices both lack accents and suggest intelligence and formal education, but differ in subtle ways. As the sleuth confronts witnesses who are male, female, outgoing, subdued, friendly, and uncooperative, Woodman displays his impressive versatility. A Minotaur hardcover. (Oct.)